LAHORE: The Pakistan Air Force on Thursday issued a public service message to emphasize the importance of safe disposal of animal offal and remains ahead of Eid al-Adha, saying the carcasses and remains of sacrificial animals could be hazardous for its aircrafts and aircrew since they attracted large number of birds.
The issue was also raised by the country’s aviation industry officials who pointed out that most airports in Pakistan were surrounded by densely populated neighborhoods, adding that it posed a serious threat to flight operations during Eid al-Adha when people sacrificed animals and casually threw away their remains.
“Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi airports are extremely vulnerable in this sense,” said Abdul Sattar Khokhar, senior joint-secretary at the Civil Aviation Division, on Thursday. “Eid al-Adha increases the danger further since many vicinities in our cities are not properly cleaned even after the festivity.”
According to aviation experts, bird strikes are regular occurrences around the world, though the number of such incidents can be greater in countries like Pakistan.
“Heavily populated areas around airports can be a big threat to airliners,” Abdullah Hafeez, a Pakistan International Airlines spokesperson, told Arab News. “According to the available data, 71 aircrafts were hit by birds last year. In the first seven months of 2020, there have been 22 such incidents. In fact, 10 bird strikes were recorded only in the month of July.”
“Such incidents can cost us a lot,” he continued. “Even if a bird strikes does not cause damage, the aircraft still undergoes a complete examination that sometimes results in flight delays and mount operational expenses. It is the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority to take preventive measures to control such incidents.”
According to ornithologists, pieces of flesh and fats attract big birds.
“Vultures and crows like to eat flesh and fats. During the Eid, such stuff is usually available more than the routine days. Another reason why we see so many birds around airports is light since they also eat flying insects,” Anam Malik, a Zoology professor, told Arab News.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority maintained it was taking corrective measures to prevent bird-strike incidents.
"The CAA has started a countrywide campaign to curb such occurrences. The purpose of the campaign is to educate people that they should not spread filth near airports since that can be extremely dangerous,” Khokhar told Arab News.
He also added that the authorities had hired shooters near the airports in Lahore and Karachi to hunt these birds.
They also fire crackers while an aircraft takes off or lands to prevent an accident.