NEW DELHI: Dirty surroundings of airports have made landings and take offs a risky affair in India. Garbage in the vicinity and open meat shops on airport approach paths attract birds and bring them dangerously close to incoming and outgoing planes, which very often result in bird hits.
While, almost all airlines say this is a routine feature, which causes hardships to passengers and great expense on repairing the damage to the aircraft, an airline has now compiled all such incidents over the past 13 months and reported a staggering 84 hits during that period. The idea - to attract authorities' attention to this problem.
India's largest private carrier Jet Airways - whose plane carrying the Indian and Australian cricket teams had to return to Nagpur last month after suffering a hit - has recorded incidents from October 2006 to date. The number is very high for just one airline. Jet operates 350 flights daily, and is second only to national carrier's figure of over 550.
Luckily for the airline, 49 incidents did not see the aircraft getting damaged, although, in many of these cases, the flights were delayed. But the sheer figure of 84 hits in 13 months for just one carrier is scary, admit aviation industry insiders. Damages reported in other cases include - engine blades getting damaged, dent on aircraft, cracks on some external equipment, windows getting shattered, and flaps getting hit.
Last month, for instance, a Brussels-Delhi flight suffered a bird hit in Delhi and the wing got dented. As a result, the Delhi-Brussels flight was cancelled that day and Jet's London-Mumbai flight had to be rerouted via Brussels to accommodate passengers there.
The airline has rated Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Vadodara, Hyderabad and Bangalore as being prone to bird hits. Other places like Bhopal, Rajkot, Nagpur and Kolkata also faces the problem but not frequently.