While bird hits at Dabolim have been reported intermittently, two bird hits early Sunday morning affecting one international and one domestic flight has cast a cloud on the airport’s safety particularly as it has begun night operations.
The first to be affected was Air Arabia’s Flight No. G9491 landing at Dabolim from an overnight trip from Sharjah. It suffered the bird hit just as it was landing at Dabolim at 4:30 am with 185 passengers and additional crew.
What was surprising is that the bird that hit this aircraft was the nocturnal predatory owl which is the first such case at Dabolim where normally kites and pigeons believed to be feeding on the garbage dumped in the airport’s vicinity, would be hit by aircrafts.
The Air Arabia’s flight after a thorough inspection was declared airworthy and took off for its return journey from Dabolim.
Barely two hours later Kingfisher Flight No. IT4611 which had arrived from Bangalore was hit by another bird at 7:45 am as it was taxing to the parking bay. This aircraft was quite severely damaged as the propeller was damaged and had to be replaced with another one that was flow in later in the day and the aircraft finally took off from Dabolim at 6:30 pm.
Passengers on both the flights had miraculous escapes as the bird hits occurred either while landing or after landing. Had it to occur while the flight was in the air, the result would have been disastrous opined an official of Airports Authority of India.