India issues new guidelines to prevent bird strikes

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On Friday, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released new guidelines for airport operators on wildlife management. This comes against the backdrop of a significant increase in wildlife-related aviation incidents in the country. The regulator has asked operators to ensure that such incidents are humanely reduced while complying with all relevant wildlife conservation laws.

The DGCA order reads as follows:

“When an effort to manipulate wildlife behavior and discourage them from getting too close to the airfield fails, different techniques must be used, which may involve trapping them and releasing them in a new location. Aerodrome operators must ensure that they comply with all state and local agency rules and regulations pertaining to the wildlife species in question, and that they conduct sampling in a humane manner.

New guidelines

The DGCA has asked airport operators to follow a set of instructions aimed at mitigating bird strikes and other wildlife encounters with aircraft. These include developing and implementing a habitat management program to reduce the number of dangerous wildlife species, carrying out risk assessment procedures and recording wildlife activity. birds around airports.

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The monsoon season in India increases the risk of bird strikes. Photo: New Delhi Airport

The aviation watchdog also called for sporadic patrols to be carried out “so that wildlife doesn’t learn or get used to the time of patrols.” In addition, regular monitoring as well as routine patrols should be carried out by airport personnel to record bird movement data. This data will be used to identify potential patterns and high-risk areas where more frequent patrols are needed.

Once all of this has been done, operators are also required to put in place effective communication mechanisms to notify pilots of significant wildlife activity on or near the aerodrome premises.

my catch

While working to minimize wildfire-related incidents such as bird strikes is a welcome step, the DGCA fails to issue explicit instructions to airport operators on the matter. The recent orders can be termed as general suggestions, while what Indian aviation needs are strict rules and regulations in this area.

At the same time, it is also understandable why the DGCA refrained from issuing a standard set of rules for all airports in the country. Different regions of India are home to different species of wildlife, some of which may require better handling than others. In such a situation, it seems preferable to delegate responsibilities to airport operators at the expense of national standardization.

Especially during the monsoon season, the Indian subcontinent is extremely susceptible to bird strikes. In June, two flights to Delhi suffered bird strikes on the same day, highlighting the problem to the DGCA.

The DGCA needs to do more in this regard. Photo: Getty Images

The August 12 order is certainly a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot to be done in this regard. The DGCA has asked all operators to submit a progress report with the data recorded on the 7th of each month. It will be interesting to see which airports comply with the regulator’s guidelines next month.

What do you think of the new DGCA guidelines relating to wildlife incidents around airports? Do you think the regulator is doing enough to prevent such incidents? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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