Airports and trash dumps: A volatile mix for airlines

The Kenya Airport Authority is the main host of a three-day meeting which kicked off yesterday in Kisumu, Kenya’s city on the shores of Lake Victoria.

The meeting, which is according to a media release received from the organizers, bringing together experts from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, is discussing ways forward to avoid bird strikes on planes taking off and landing at airports where rubbish dump sites in the vicinity have attracted large numbers of scavenger birds which, unlike in a controlled airport environment where bird strike prevention is more effective, post a significant and increasing risk to aircraft.

Some 80 aviation and birding experts were expected to come together in Kisumu and consider ways and means to reduce bird strike risks including the introduction of new legislation and regulations which would see rubbish dumps made illegal in areas where scavenging birds then pose safety risks to aviation. Only a few weeks ago, a Kenya Airways flight to Mahe, Seychelles, was struck after takeoff by a bird, and while safely returning to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, made it clear that, in particular, in the vicinity of East Africa’ largest aviation hub, dump sites have to be managed better and eventually moved to safer areas further outside the critical zone around the airport.

No cancellations of participants recorded, a boost to Kenya’s struggling tourism industry, which has been hard hit by panic reactions from Western countries over a series of security incidents, all of which were directed against Kenyans and not foreign tourists.