Recent reports have suggested that Nigerian Airlines lose as much as N20 billion to bird strikes annually. The frequency of such strikes is said to have increased over the years.
Bird strikes occur when a bird gets into the engine of an aircraft and usually tends to damage the aircraft. The strikes could also prove to be fatal if it happens mid-flight.
A bird strike occurrence on January 15, 2009, caused the pilots of a U.S Airways plane to “ditch” their passenger plane in the Hudson River, off midtown Manhattan.
The airline operators said the bird strikes usually damages plane engines and forces the airline to replace the engine when it happens.
The aircraft is thereafter grounded until a new engine is fixed on the aircraft and tested.
The airlines lose about N50million when planes are grounded usually for a period of about 10 days.The process of acquiring a new engine could take longer than 10 days and the cost of the engine of a Boeing B737 is between $3 and $4 million.
FAAN’s Environment Department, have taken measures to reduce the presence of birds at the airports but the measures have not effectively kept the birds at bay. There are reports of bird strikes almost every week at different airports in the country.
The President, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Nogie Meggison said that before now, bird strikes occur over five to six times monthly but it had been reduced to a minimum of about four or two monthly.