June 6, 2023

Nigeria Transport Hub

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Pilots culpable for the steady increase in bird strikes

2 min read

Aircraft taking off flies into the flock of birds

Pilots operating on the Nigerian domestic routes have been accused of presumptuousness as they often ignored directives from the air traffic controllers only to fly into the flock of birds and experienced bird strikes.

Observations revealed that on most occasions when about to take off or when about to land, the Pilots are wont to flout directives from the tower requesting they tarry but sadly, such recalcitrant conduct had cost their employers hundreds of millions of naira in damaged engines and fan blades.

Hence, both operators and their Pilots have been urged to cultivate an obedient spirit to directives emanating from the controller as directives from the air traffic control tower are to a large extent, sacrosanct and should be strictly adhered to against all odds. Safety and economic prosperity lie in such obedience.

Mr Adetunji Adetutu, Head of Bird Unit, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, whose station is Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, gave the charge at the workshop organized by the Search and Rescue Mission of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA), held at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.

Adetutu argued that the 93 bird strike incidents recorded in the nation’s airspace within the first half of the current year 2022, had been a cause of concern to the airport management.

According to him, 98 per cent of bird strike incidents occurred at Lagos airports, especially when taking off and landing.

Adetutu emphasized that “until the ATC gives clearance for Pilots to depart or land, it is necessary for Pilots to listen to their advice”.

In his presentation, Mr Azike Edozie, Head of Bird/Wildlife Hazard Control, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), decried the high incidents of bird strikes in the nation’s airspace.

Edozie said the responsibility of keeping the airspace safe from bird incidents lay with every stakeholder in the industry, including airline operators, security agencies and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Azike Edozie lamented the menace bird strike had constituted to airport managers and airline operators who often were made to incur millions of dollars to repair damaged engines.

He expressed optimism that the respective agencies would soon find a lasting solution to the menace.

He gave the breakdown of bird strikes that 54 incidents occurred at Lagos airports, which was 70 per cent of the total incidents and 39 incidents were recorded in all the other airports nationwide thus, bringing the total bird strike to 93 incidents.

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