Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hanging out on Goa airport’s runway: Dogs, birds, pythons

Panaji: The presence of stray dogs and birds around Goa's sole airport at Dabolim is worrying authorities, especially since the airfield is critical for domestic as well as military purposes. Even though animal strikes are few and far between, they certainly pose a constant threat to Goa International Airport's operations.
Monday's incident of a stray dog running across the tarmac when IndiGo flight 6E-468 was taking off, and the subsequent strike, has highlighted the danger posed to air passengers and aircraft. The dog, which managed to sneak into the apron side of the airport terminal, struck the aircraft's undercarriage, forcing the pilot to abort the take-off and return to the parking bay for inspection and replacement of a damaged rear tire.
Officials who spoke to TOI on condition of anonymity said that this was not the first instance of a dog straying onto the tarmac. Nor will Monday's incident, in which fortunately nobody was injured, be the last if authorities do not find a solution to the issue.
"Dogs have been spotted on the airfield very often and we brought it up at the last APSC (Airport Security Committee) meeting," a senior official with an airline said.
The APSC meeting is held every month with all stakeholders of Goa International Airport.
The immediate response from Airports Authority of India (AAI) was to describe the incident as a "rare and one-off case" and that adequate security systems were in place to prevent such incidents from repeating. However, an AAI official tasked with day-to-day flight operations confirmed that stray dogs "keep coming onto the apron" area of the civilian terminal.
26/10/17 Newton Sequeira/Times of India
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