Airport authorities have a reason to cheer the scanty rainfall this monsoon.
The monsoon usually means an increase in the number of bird hits at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Last year, the airport witnessed 67 incidents of bird hit, highest for any Indian airport ever.
More than 30 per cent of these incidents occurred in the monsoon months — July, August and September.
Incidents of birds hitting aircraft occur during landing and take-off. There is not much impact if a bird hits the plane’s body but when it gets sucked inside the engine, it causes engine failure, which can ground the aircraft.
During rainy season, grass on the land near runways grows very faster and attracts insects.
Birds of prey like Kites hover around the airport to feed on these insects and also to drink the accumulated rainwater.
There are also some birds that build their nests in the tall grass.
“Delhi’s record is the worst in bird hit incidents. However, with such scanty rainfall, the number of bird hits should go down this year,” said a senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation who didn't wish to be named.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi and adjoining regions are expected to get 20 per cent less than normal rainfall this year.
The private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) is hopeful that the dry monsoon, along with bird control measures, would help it change the dubious record of having the highest bird hits in the country every year.
DIAL has increased the number of ‘bird chasers’ from 25 to 50, who use signal pistols and fire crackers to scare birds away, a spokesman said.