NEW DELHI: A Vistara Varanasi-Mumbai flight on Friday suffered a bird hit during take off. The aircraft safely returned safely to the origin airport.
The Airbus A320’s (VT-TNC) radome has been damaged and the aircraft has been grounded in Varanasi, say Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials.
This is at least the second bird hit in as many days. Aviation officials say these instances rise during monsoon as waterlogged ground forces worms to the surface, attracting more birds that usual.
About Friday’s bird hit, Vistara said in a statement: “Vistara flight UK 622 operating Varanasi to Mumbai on August 5, 2022, turned back to Varanasi due to a bird strike during departure. Due to a maintenance inspection of the aircraft being required, another aircraft has been sent from Delhi to Varanasi to fly the passengers to Mumbai. It has been our constant endeavour to minimise inconvenience to our customers in such unavoidable situations whilst keeping safety as our topmost priority.”
GoFirst’s Ahmedabad-Chandigarh flight on Thursday had safely returned to the origin soon after take off following a bird hit. There was a suspected bird hit to engine number 1 and the aircraft operating as G8-911 had returned to Ahmedabad.
Following some bird hits this monsoon, the DGCA had on June 20, 2022, asked airport operators to immediately take steps to minimise this risk. The incidence of bird hits rises during any season as waterlogged ground sends worms and insects to the surface, attracting birds even more than the what the garbage dumped and abattoirs on the approach path of aircraft and near airports do.
“We are all aware that during monsoon season wild life (birds and animals) activity increases in and around airports. Presence of wildlife in airport vicinity poses a serious threat to aircraft operational safety. All airports are requested to review their wild life hazard management plan for any gap and ensure strict implementation of strategies for wild life hazard management within and also outside the airfield,” DGCA joint DG Maneesh Kumar has said in a letter to all airport operators and airport directors.
Within the airport, the steps to be taken include: “Grass trimming and spraying of insecticides; frequent runway inspection for bird activities; deployment of bird chasers and bird scaring devices; Regular garbage disposal in the operational area and avoiding water concentration and open drains.”
For tackling the issue outside airport premises, Kumar said: “Airport Environment Management Committee (AMC) meetings (should) be convened to discuss and review implementation of measures to reduce bird hazard. Frequent inspection by airport wild life hazard management team/AMC to identify sources of wild life attraction such as garbage dump, open disposal of abattoir/butcheries waste and coordination with local authorities for mitigation of sources of wild life attraction.”
Airports operators have been asked to send an action taken report to the DGCA.
The Aircraft Act, 1934, specifically prohibits any slaughtering or flaying of animals or dumping garbage in a way which could attract animals and birds within a 10-km radius of airports.
“Such activity is a cognizable offence under section 10(1B) of the Aircraft Act, 1934… airfield environment management committees at airports (which are headed by chief secretaries) should take proactive measures on time-bound basis to ensure that no illegal slaughter houses, garbage dumps exist in the vicinity of airports. (these) are source of increased bird activity and may lead to wildlife strikes to aircraft during approach/take off,” the DGCA had told states a few years ago.