KARACHI: When already operating with small fleet, four passengers aircraft of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were grounded; three in Karachi and one in Lahore- after being hit by birds within a week time.
The grounding of two Boeing 777 and two Airbus 320 have disturbed the flight schedule besides causing financial loss to the loan ridden PIA.
PIA spokesperson Mr. Mashood Tajwar said four of the airline’s aircraft have been grounded within a week after being hit by birds during landing.
“The flight schedule has been badly disturbed and more than a dozen flights have been delayed. One international flight was delayed for 17 hours due to the bird strikes,” he said.
The first bird strike happened on Sunday when a PIA plane travelling from Peshawar to Karachi was hit during landing. The next day, another PIA plane was hit, on Tuesday a PIA flight from Jeddah to Karachi was hit by a bird while landing at the Jinnah International Airport while a PIA flight from Jeddah to Lahore was hit by a bird while landing at the Allama Iqbal International Airport on Friday.
The spokesman said the departure of a PIA flight from Lahore to Jeddah was delayed by 17 hours as the aircraft was hit by a bird while landing at 12.45 at the Allama Iqbal International Airport. The flight will be operated after the aircraft is examined by engineers and repaired.
He said that when an aircraft is hit by a bird, following the standard operating procedure, the PIA management writes to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is responsible for cleanliness around the airport to avoid the gathering of birds.
A CAA official told that the authority conducts countrywide awareness campaigns on bird hits at airports in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.
Wedding hall owners, cable operators, waste disposal management companies and other government representatives are involved in the campaign.
“People residing or doing business close to airports should not throw garbage around airports because it attracts birds which flock around airports and which is hazardous for planes during landing and take-off,” he said.
Measures taken by the CAA for bird control at airports include the deployment of airside inspectors and bird-scarers, the use of air sprays on the airfield, use of cartridges, fire crackers and of course de-nesting.