The airport has been witnessing bird menace for past few years owing to a fish market located close by and heaps of garbage piled up.

Every day, it’s a tense situation for the Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel who closely monitor the trajectory of the aircraft until it takes off or lands at the Gannavaram airport near Vijayawada. Their anxiety is not unfounded as there could be a danger lurking in the sky in the form of a bird. Bird strikes are significant threat to flight safety.

The airport has been witnessing bird menace for past few years owing to a fish market located close by and heaps of garbage piled up in the open place abutting the airport. Vendors at Kesarapally, Gannavaram and other areas also dump filth around the airport attracting flocks of birds.

This is becoming a potential threat to aircraft movement. Currently, four airlines are operating flights to Hyderabad, Bangalore and other cities. Birds, sources say, invariably assemble in the open place and to control their influx, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has formed a special team to inspect the runway and surroundings areas. They patrol in a jeep to open fire with an airgun using a gas cylinder, a senior official explains.

Firecrackers

Bursting firecrackers is another way to disperse the birds. The ATC personnel also scan the premises with binoculars from their five-storied tower. “We spend anxious moments until a flight lands or takes off and continuously monitor the situation with the staff on the runway through wireless sets,” he says.

The airport Director B. G. Patil says the issue was discussed in a recent meeting convened by the Airfield Environment Management Committee (AEMC) headed by the district Collector. The fish market and other establishments are situated within half kilometre radius of the airport. “Senior officials of the district have promised to look into the matter,” he maintains.

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