Alarming bird menace at TVPM airport, forest dept roped in

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Thiruvananthapuram: Bird hit is a major concern for pilots and airline companies world over. The authorities of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in Kerala are facing this hazard at a rate above the safe limits. Fed up with the regular bird strike at the airport, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has approached the Research Centre under the Forest Department to study the issue. The researchers will start their work from April.

For the one-year pilot project, AAI has entered into an agreement with the centre for Rs 10 lakh. The study will be led by Dr E A Jayson and Dr V B Sreekumar, who are experts in ornithology. The operations and aviation safety wings of the airport will supervise the activities.

According to the guidelines of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), only less than five bird hits should be expected during every 10,000 plane landings and take-offs. But 25 bird hits were reported at Thiruvananthapuram airport from April 2018 and March 2019, when 33,000 flights used the facility. The DGCA pointed out that this figure was very high, compared to other airports.

Moreover, several pilots have submitted formal complaints to the DGCA and AAI that landing at the airport was unsafe owing to bird hits. The DGCA took up the matter with the Thiruvananthapuram airport authorities, following which it was decided to entrust the Forest Department’s research centre with the task of conducting the study.

The scientists informed that a special observation team will be deployed round the clock at the airport and runway as part of the study.

In aviation parlance, Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) denotes collision between an airborne animal (usually a bird or bat) and a vehicle, often an aircraft.

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