Haneda airport in Tokyo, like many other airports throughout the world, is facing an ever-increasing hazard ....
Haneda airport in Tokyo, like many other airports throughout the world, is facing an ever-increasing hazard ....wild birds.
An estimated 5,000 birds -- mostly ducks, seagulls and herons -- use the marshy reclaimed land around Haneda as a sanctuary. Their presence and increasing number has become a sharp danger to both incoming the outgoing flights at the airport, one of the world's busiest.
Since the beginning of 1975, 57 cases of mid-air collisions between birds and aircraft have been reported. Of these, 12 were reported in November alone.
The total for 1975 so far has more than doubled the number of incidents recorded in 1974. Not only are the mid-air collisions dangerous, they can also be very expensive. The average cost of engine blades -- the aircraft parts most often damages by the birds -- is as high as 3,000 U.S. dollars (14,3300 pounds sterling).... and many planes have been so badly damaged that they have been forced to return for immediate repairs.
Haneda's administrators have tried numerous methods to reduce the bird hazard, including scarecrows and loudspeakers. All have failed, and the birds continue to breed.
In November, however, the airport authorities had the idea of employing professional hunters to cut down the bird population. The first cull took place early one morning. After an hour's shooting, the hunters had killed only three birds.
Nevertheless, the airport chiefs think that this will ultimately prove the most effective solution to the bird population at Haneda. Dawn culls are schedule for every month until next March.
SYNOPSIS: Landing one of today's sophisticated aircraft is no easy task in the best of conditions. When the runways are surrounded by thousands of birds, the problems can be immense. That's more or less the situation at busy Haneda airport in Tokyo, where an estimated five thousand wild birds -- mostly herons, seagulls and ducks -- live and breed in the marshy land around the airport perimeter.
Last month, hunters were brought in by the airport authorities, in an attempt to reduce the bird hazard. the authorities have already tried less drastic measures, like scarecrows and loudspeakers, to frighten the birds away. All have failed. The hunters, they feel offer a permanent solution to the bird problem.
So far this year, fifty-seven mid-air collisions between birds and aircraft have been reported at Haneda. That's double the 1974 total. Twelve incidents took place in November alone. The collisions aren't only highly dangerous, they're very expensive too. Many aircraft need costly repair work before they're fit again for service.