DGCA issues guidelines to prevent bird strikes, asks airports to patrol and notify pilots of wildlife activity

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Following a series of aviation accidents in recent weeks, including bird strikes, the sector regulator, the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile (DGAC), issued guidelines at the airport on Saturday to avoid bird strikes.

DGCA guidelines include conducting routine patrols in random patterns and briefing pilots whenever there is wildlife activity.

The DGCA reminds that all airport operators are invited to review their wildlife hazard management program to identify shortcomings and ensure its strict implementation in and around an aerodrome. She asked airports to carry out a wildlife risk assessment and rank them according to the risk posed to aircraft.

Airports must have a procedure for monitoring and recording data on wildlife movements, the DGAC said. He added that airports should also have a procedure to notify pilots “in response to any significant concentration or activity of wildlife both on and near the airport”, he said.

Routine patrols are central to the wildlife risk management program, he said. Patrols should be carried out in random patterns rather than a regular route so that wildlife does not learn or become accustomed to the timing of patrols, he said.

The DGCA noted: “Airfield operators are required to submit a monthly report on the measures taken regarding the implementation of the wildlife risk management program and also provide data on wildlife strikes … before the 7th of each month.”

There have been various bird strike incidents over the past few weeks. On August 4, the Go First flight to Chandigarh returned to Ahmedabad on Thursday after being hit by a bird. On June 19, an engine of a Delhi-bound SpiceJet plane carrying 185 passengers caught fire shortly after taking off from Patna airport and the plane made an emergency landing minutes later. The engine malfunctioned due to a bird strike.

Besides these incidents, on July 15, a live bird was found in the cockpit of the Bahrain-Kochi flight of Air India Express. The DGCA is investigating the incident.

(With PTI inputs)

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