Hike in bird hits costs airlines millions of dollars

61 incidents reported in last six months at different airports of country

Our Correspondent July 08, 2023


The country has witnessed a gradual increase in the incidents of bird collisions with planes at different airports.

During the last six months, 61 incidents of bird collisions with aircraft of different airlines, including the national carrier, were reported.

According to sources, the number of birds and their collisions with planes have increased again at airports across the country, including the one in Karachi.

In the past six months, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) reported that there were 39 incidents of bird strikes, causing losses of millions of dollars to the national carrier.

In four of these incidents, the engines of the planes were seriously damaged and they had to be grounded temporarily, cancelling several flights.

Read more: PIA suffers losses as bird strikes soar

The highest number of bird collisions occurred at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.

It was followed by incidents reported at Lahore's Allama Iqbal Airport.

During these six months, 19 and 17 incidents of bird collisions with planes were reported at Karachi and Lahore airports, respectively.

Similarly, five such incidents were reported at the Islamabad airport during the past six months.

Four incidents were reported at Quetta airport, two each at Sukkur and Multan airports, and one each at Sialkot and Peshawar airports.

According to the sources, with the arrival of the monsoon season, further increase in bird collisions is expected that may cause a severe threat to air operations.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has repeatedly announced the installation of special equipment, but no substantial steps could be taken in this context.

The PIA spokesperson said the national carrier had to bear additional expenses because of the birds hitting the planes.

The spokesperson added that the flight schedule was also affected because of the bird collisions.

In May this year, Flight PK-310 -- an Airbus-320 flying from Karachi to Quetta -- was hit by a bird immediately after takeoff. After the bird hit, the captain of the plane contacted the control tower and asked for permission to land the aircraft again.

The plane was shifted to the hangar while the passengers to the lounge. During examination, it was found that six blades of the plane's engine were damaged.

According to the PIA spokesperson, the passengers of the Karachi-Quetta flight were sent through another flight because of the delay in the repair of the damaged aircraft.

The sources said the shooters of the CAA targeted birds in the airport’s funnel area – the takeoff and landing site.

According to the CAA spokesperson, shooters were deployed on a regular basis during aerial operations at the takeoff and landing points to drive away the birds.

Due to certain factors like dumping of garbage near the airports, birds often hover in the airspace, and become a threat to the planes taking off and landing.


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