Other than space crunch, the biggest problem at the Pune international airport is the threat of bird hits that shows no sign of decreasing. Over the past three years, more than a dozen bird hits have been reported at the airport. Several reasons including improper disposal of solid waste and increased human habitation have been attributed to this.
On Wednesday, the Pune-Bangkok flight, which departs at 1.45 pm from the city, was called back after a bird hit. The flight, which was cleared for take-off, was recalled to the airport and rechecked thoroughly. Although no damages were reported, the passengers had a frightening time.
Airport director Manoj Kumar Gangal said bird hits are a universal threat for the aviation industry. “We in Pune are aware of the threats, but have managed to address it properly,” he said.
Wing Commander R R Lal, spokesperson of Lohegaon Air Force Station, also admitted that there was a problem of bird hits but said it is under control.
Two years ago, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had conducted a study on what causes bird hits. It pointed out that unchecked growth of human habitation and improper disposal of municipal solid waste were the main causes. Officials said waterlogging around the area compounds the problem.
Bird hits occur when the aircraft are not too high in the sky, officials said, adding that small birds pose the greatest threat to planes. Mostly, the incidents occur when the aircraft is either taking off or approaching the runway for landing.
AAI officials said the issue has come up for discussion with various authorities and steps like avoiding waterlogging and asking the civic authorities to ensure proper disposal of solid waste are being taken. “Bird hit is a big problem for the aviation industry throughout the world, but we are taking corrective steps,” said Gangal.