Avianca Urgently Requests Colombian Authorities To Control Bird … – Simple Flying

Colombia has the highest rate of bird strikes in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This week, Colombian carrier Avianca urgently requested the local authorities to control the presence of birds at airports to preserve air safety. Birds are an accident hazard, being the number one animal in the wildlife strike possibilities.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Incident Data eXchange, or IDX, Colombia has the highest rate of bird strikes in Latin America and the Caribbean, Avianca said this week. In the past five years alone, there have been 2,448 bird strikes in this South American country.
Around 60% of them are concentrated in the biggest airports of Colombia, Bogota (BOG), Cali (CLO), Barranquilla (BAQ), Cartagena (CTG), Medellín (MDE), Montería (MTR), and Pereira (PEI). For instance, in August, an Avianca Airbus A320-200 performing flight AV8525 between Barranquilla and Bogota was accelerating for takeoff when a bird impacted the aircraft. The crew had to reject takeoff at high speed and the flight was later canceled.
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Additionally, in months when different bird species migrate, such as October and November, there are four times more impacts than the regional average. This year alone, Avianca stated that over 230 flights operated within Colombia have suffered from bird strikes, an increase of 61% compared to the same period in 2021.
Frederico Pedreira, Chief Operating Officer of Avianca, said,
“As Avianca, we urgently call for quick action and decisive measures to be taken by the Civil Aeronautics, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Transportation, Regional Autonomous Corporations, the Attorney General's Office, and regional mayors to manage the presence of birds at airports, their vicinity and approach and departure trajectories. The safety of our customers and crews is neither negotiable nor secondary, much less when the risk is present nationwide, as seven airports concentrate an alarming bird presence, including El Dorado.”
Bird strikes happen mostly during take-off, climb, approach, and landing (96%). Following the introduction of jets, bird strikes rose worldwide, becoming a serious and costly hazard. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that the number of wildlife strikes reported per year increased steadily from about 1,800 in 1990 to 16,000 in 2018.
As Dr. Dawi Musa Hamed wrote in an article for the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2018, fast speeds mean birds have less time to react to approaching aircraft. This has forced many airports to have management plans to deal with the different species of birds.
Nonetheless, airports and governments must assess the problems, identify the contributing factors to the presence of the birds, and analyze the threat. For instance, Dr. Musa Hamed said airports often have an abundance of food, such as seeds, grass, insects, earthworms, small birds, and mammals, which attract other birds. There’s also the use of water which attracts the animals for drinking, bathing, and feeding; there are plenty of spaces birds can use as shelter, such as hangars, and there are also the migration patterns for many species of birds.
There are a wide variety of strategies that airports can do to prevent the presence of birds nearby. One of the most popular methods to scare birds is firing air cannons. Airports can also alter the nearby landscape and make it less attractive for birds. For instance, they can drain standing water, remove trees, and manage grass height to a maximum of 14 inches. They can also modify buildings to reduce roosting or nesting sites and eliminate open garbage cans and temporary garbage collection. Airports can also use visual repellents such as birds of prey and dog effigies. For now, Avianca will be hoping for quick action to make sure Colombian airports are as safe as those globally.
What can Colombia’s civil aviation authorities do to prevent bird strikes? Let us know in the comments below.
Lead Journalist – South America – Daniel comes to Simple Flying with many years of aviation journalism experience, having worked with Mexican publication A21, Roads & Kingdoms, El Economista and more. His degree in journalism allows him to form beautifully crafted and insightful pieces. His specialist knowledge of Latin American airlines and close relationship with the likes of Aeromexico, Avianca, Volaris brings depth to our coverage in the region. Based in Mexico City, Mexico.