Airlines lose billions as Lagos airport records 70% of 93 bird strikes in 6 months

About 93 bird strike incidents have occurred across Nigerian airports in the first half of 2022, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has revealed. 
Out of the number, 54 of such bird strike incidents happened at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos alone, and experts have estimated that this has cost airlines over N15 billion in losses due to repairs of aircraft.
Speaking at the the workshop organised by the Search and Rescue Mission of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) on Wednesday in Lagos, Mr. Azike Edozie, Head Bird/Wildlife Hazard Control of the NCAA, decried the high incidents arising from bird strike incidents in the industry, saying that 98 per cent of bird strike incidents occurred at the airports, especially when taking off and landing.
Edozie however said that the responsibility of keeping the airspace safe from birds incidents rests with every stakeholder in the industry, including airline operators, security agencies and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
He expressed hope that the respective agencies would find a lasting solution to the menace soon, decrying that airlines were losing million of dollars to the incident annually.
”My record shows that we have had at least 93 bird strike incidents in all our airports between January this year to June and out of this number, 54 of it happened in Lagos Airport alone, which represents about 70 per cent of the total occurrences.
”We all have to proffer a solution to this menace and I do hope we have a lasting solution to it because everyone, especially the airlines are losing money,” he said.
Also, Mr. Adetunji Adetutu, Head of Unit, Bird Control, FAAN, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos in his presentation pointed out that no airline was immune from the incident of bird strikes.
He also blamed some of the pilots for the high bird strike rates in the industry, stressing that some of the pilots are always in a hurry to depart an airport and usually violate the instructions of Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).
He insisted that it is necessary for the airlines and their pilots to adhere to the instructions issued by ATCs.
He however said that FAAN as the airport landlord is doing its best to curb the spread of the incident through the procurement of modern equipment, which he said had gone a long way to reduce its impacts.
He said: ”The final say on what happens to the aircraft lies with the pilots. Until the ATC gives clearance for pilots to depart or land, it is necessary for pilots to listen to their advice.
”Airline operators should have a change of culture on how we carry out our duties. It’s the suitability of the environment that bring birds to the airport environment. We have water, shelter and food around the airports. Runway should be free of activities at take off and landing.”
He emphased further that most of the birds that cause havoc at the airports migrate from other continents to Africa at a particular time of the season.
Also, Mr. Olanrewaju Iwalaye, Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, NAMA, said it is necessary for all stakeholders to curb the the actinides of bird strike incidents at the airport with the procurement of advanced equipment.
Iwalaye, however, observed that FAAN had in recent times improved with the procured of equipment to reduce the incident.
He added that the same programme was simultaneously going on in all the major airports across the country, including the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Omagwa, Aminu Kano International Airport (AKIA), Kano and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Port Harcourt.
‘We need to find a way to address this challenge. Birds are in their natural habitant and most of our airports are built close to the forest. 
‘Apart from birds, we also have wildlife animals, which are also strikes. We hope to propose on mitigation in order to address it. We also need to know the activities of birds too. Statistics that was given earlier indicates that 93 bird incidents were recorded as at September 17, 2022, but 32 of this occurred in just two months,” he said. 

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