Kenya Airport Authority blames city dump site for bird threat to aircraft


(eTN) An increased threat level for landing and departing aircraft due to birds, and complaints by the affected airlines, has prompted the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) to resort to added activities in scaring birds away from the main runway of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Groups of workers have also been deployed further afield to the breeding grounds of Marabou storks and other bird species considered of particular threat to air traffic in and out of the airport. Meanwhile, the KAA has blamed the location of the main city rubbish dump between the Nairobi National Park and the airport for an increase in bird flocks, as they commute to scavenge for food sources.

Departing and arriving aircraft do face a major threat to their safety by birds, and several bird strikes were recorded in past years, not only in Nairobi but also the world-famous incident when the pilots landed their disabled plan on the Hudson River in New York after colliding with a flock of geese, which were sucked into the engines. Luckily, in the New York incident, as well as in Nairobi, no passengers came to harm, but the risk is considered high, and constant vigilance is required to keep birds away from the flight paths.

Meanwhile, the presentation of the report of the parliamentary committee on transport has raised arguments in the house as several MPs criticized the committee for their findings, while others defended the impartiality of the report and supported the recommendation of a fresh recruitment exercise for the position of the KAA CEO, claiming the entire exercise was skewed in favor of the “wish list candidate” propped up by the former post holder, the now retired George Muhoho.