A Delhi-bound Kingfisher Airlines flight carrying 120 passengers returned to the city airport 15 minutes after it took off because of a suspected bird hit on Friday.
The pilot of flight number IT 331 seeked permission from the air traffic control for a priority landing. The ATC alerts fire tenders, ambulances and security personnel when a flight wants to make such an emergency landing. After a safe landing passengers were disembarked.
“Engineers inspected the aircraft to assess the damage and we have arranged for an alternative aircraft,” said a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson.
Overall cases of bird hits, however, have dropped in Mumbai — one of the worst hit airports till 2008.
According to data from the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MAIL), frequency of bird strikes has dropped from 1.06% in 2006 to 0.63% in 2009. Until July, it further dropped to 0.55%.
Globally an airport is largely safe if it manages to restrict bird hits up to a maximum of 0.85 per 10,000 flight movements (take-offs and landings).
This was possible after the airport set up a monsoon wildlife management team – a special group to tackle the menace well in keeping birds away from your travel path.
New devices to drive away birds have helped bird chasers who earlier had to do the job using firecrackers and sticks.
The team of 30-odd people deployed on both sides of the runway now they have high decibel German-made guns and laser bird repellent torches that are very effective in moving birds even when its pouring heavily.