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Rise in bird-hits poses higher risk to human lives

Need for proactive measures to mitigate bird-hit incidents rather than just reporting to authorities;
Airport operators to regularly monitor and undertake risk assessment and examination of habitat in and around airport to reduce such incidents

The incidents of bird strikes have been consistently increasing at airports across the country, posing higher risk to human lives. In past 30 days, the Indian aviation sector has witnessed over 5 bird-hit cases reported by airlines such as IndiGo, GoAir, AirAsia and Kalitta Air. Unfortunately such incidents are only reported; and proactive initiatives towards mitigating such incidents are largely ignored due to lack of regular monitoring and successful implementation of guidelines defined for airport operators.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has defined ‘reporting guidelines’ to the airline players on a bird-hit case, and has laid down guidelines for airport operators to mitigate bird-hit incidents at the airports. However, there is a strong need to regularly monitor and implement guidelines defined for airport operators to proactively undertake risk assessment and examination of habitat in and around airport that can reduce incidents; and enhance safety of the passengers.

Recently, DGCA team visited Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, 2 days after GoAir flight G8-149 carrying Rahul Gandhi and several opposition leaders was ready to land at New Delhi airport, on which the pilot opted for a go-around as a bird hit was suspected on one aircraft. The DGCA team reviewed the measures taken by the airport operator to reduce cases of bird hit. The airport operator informed that they have engaged wildlife consultant to understand aerodrome wildlife ecology and suggestive measures. This involves identifying the species present in and around the aerodrome and how much damage each species can cause to an aircraft.

There are several measures that each of the airport operators in the country is undertaking to mitigate the human lives risks due to bird-hit, however there is a need to strictly implement the guidelines and carry out regular audits to curb such incidents rather than just reporting. 

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