Monday, January 23, 2023

Bird strikes on aircraft at Thiruvananthapuram airport a never-ending menace

Thiruvananthapuram: Poultry waste dumping and the functioning of illegal slaughterhouses near the Thiruvananthapuram airport have become a headache for pilots landing aircraft on the runway, due to occasional bird strikes. 

Though the rate of bird strikes saw a decline during the last two years because of low air traffic movement (ATM) owing to Covid, the issue still persists, putting the lives of passengers and residents at risk.  As per the data provided by the airport authorities, 15 incidents of bird strikes on aircraft were reported in 2022, while in 2020 and 2021, 14 cases each were reported. Though the bird strike rate last year was 5.46%, it was at 11.11% and 8.63%, respectively, in 2020 and 2021. Though the city corporation has been warned and advised many times to come up with a solution, there has been no positive response. 

Recently, the airport environment management committee, led by the transport secretary in charge of aviation, Biju Prabhakar, strongly criticised the local body for not resolving the long-standing issue. 

“Though bird strikes on aircraft are common at airports located near the sea, the rate of the issue here is higher due to frequent waste dumping and illegal slaughterhouses functioning in the area. We are trying our best to clear the dumped waste by burying it. There are times when we need to burst crackers near the runway to scare off the birds. But what we need is a permanent solution to the menace. A government-level intervention is needed in the issue,” said an airport official. 

23/01/23 K Krishnachand/New Indian Express

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