New Delhi: In the wake of recent bird hit incidents at airports, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has finally issued a set of directives for operators to check such incidents.
As per its guidelines, aerodrome operators are required to deploy a wide range of methods and techniques to minimise the collision between wildlife and aircraft. These include carrying out routine patrols in random patterns, informing pilots whenever there is any wildlife activity, regular surveillance to spot hazardous wildlife, and to record and monitor wildlife/ bird movement data.
Regularly monitoring of buildings and other infrastructure for nests and roosts, along with regular pruning to get rid of dense growth around airports, has also been recommended.
Airport operators have also been advised to establish procedures to inform pilots if there is a significant wildlife concentration or activity in or near an airport. Runway safety inspections will need to be performed along with other wildlife hazard management patrols.
Just a week ago, a Vistara flight returned to Varanasi due to bird hit during take-off. The flight had to be grounded after its radome was damaged. Earlier, a GoFirst’s Ahmedabad-Chandigarh flight returned soon after taking off owing to a bird strike.
The DGCA has sought a report from aerodrome operators on a monthly basis on the action taken.
As per the circular, titled ‘Management of potential wildlife hazards at licensed aerodromes’, “The activity of birds and animals in and around an aerodrome is a potential source of hazard to safe operation of aircraft and possibility of collision between an aircraft and birds/animals. Wildlife strikes pose a significant threat to flight safety and have caused a number of accidents and incidents in India.”
Aircraft Rules prohibit dumping of garbage and slaughter of animals that may attract wildlife within 10 km of an airport.
The DGCA said that the main objective is to bring about a change in wildlife behaviour so that they do not enter the critical safety zones where the aircraft operates. Habitat management is probably the most important method of preventing or reducing wildlife strikes on and around an aerodrome. Modifications to the aerodrome’s habitat/ environment to eliminate or exclude food, water and shelter can limit the attractiveness of birds and other wildlife at an aerodrome.
Routine patrolling is the core of the wildlife hazard management programme, it said. The patrols should be carried out in random patterns rather than a regular route so that no bird or animal learns or becomes accustomed to the timing of patrols, it added.