Cape Verdean regulator concerned about incidents between birds and planes

According to the 2021 regulatory report, recently completed by the sector’s regulatory agency, “the significant number of occurrences related to the presence of birds in the vicinity of airports” reported last year “constitutes a serious concern for entities linked to civil aviation. in Cape Verde”.

The situation, it reads, is “aggravated by the fact that they took place in a year of low air and airport operations, caused by the covid-19 pandemic and the suspension of TACV [international flights] and TICV [domestic] operations” .

“They impose the adoption of measures to reduce them in order to improve the level of operational safety”, defends the AAC report.

According to the document, the 30 occurrences in the year 2021 related to birds in the vicinity of airports compare with 22 in 2020. Among those recorded in 2021, a total of 24 are due to ‘bird strike’ (against eight in 2020), four cases due to missed approach or ‘Go around’ and two due to rejected take-off or ‘Rejected Takeoff’, “following the presence of birds”.

Approximately 90% of the occurrences related to the birds were registered at Nelson Mandela International Airport, in the city of Praia, the document adds.

“AAC is taking measures aimed at minimizing the risks associated with possible incidents and, in more serious cases, accidents, caused by the presence of birds in airports and surroundings.

On the other hand, the AAC has developed awareness-raising actions on the problem of animal life in the vicinity of airports”, he also refers.

Cape Verdean authorities began at the end of July last year inquiries to animal breeders in the surroundings of Praia airport, under the program to stop incidents between birds and aircraft, five of which affected the Portuguese TAP in 2021.

According to a source from the Cape Verde Institute for the Prevention and Investigation of Aeronautical and Maritime Accidents (IPIAAM), the actions take place under the “Bird Safe” program, on flight safety and protection of life, and surveys of bird breeders and livestock aim “to better solve the problem of the presence of animal life near airports, due to the danger it represents for air operations and which puts human life at risk”.

The work on the ground will cover several areas surrounding Praia airport, with the aim of “surveying livestock and poultry breeders and identifying existing and predominant species”, as well as “knowing the conditions under which these activities are practiced”. ”.

The objective is “to understand the possible solutions to be adopted and their willingness to collaborate with the institutions”, explains IPIAAM, which coordinates the “Bird Safe” action plan, together with other Cape Verdean entities and which provides for a year to develop and carry out activities to raise the awareness of the population and institutions about “respecting incident prevention, promoting behavior change”.

Since at least mid-2021, teams of airport workers have been seen in the vicinity of the runway at Praia airport, keeping flocks of birds away, while on the outside perimeter it is usual to see dozens of cattle grazing, which in turn attract these birds. flocks of birds.

“IPIAAM, through this joint initiative, aims to achieve more effective and far-reaching results, in mitigating the risk that the frequent presence of animal life in the airport environment represents for operational safety and in favor of a safety culture in the aviation sector. civilian”, highlights the source.

Planes of the Portuguese airline TAP suffered five incidents with birds at Praia airport in 2021, but the company’s president admitted last March that the measures adopted by the Cape Verdean authorities improved the situation.

“This year, until now [2022], the situation has been completely different regarding incidents”, said TAP’s executive president, Christine Ourmières-Widener, questioned by Lusa on the sidelines of a visit she made in March to the Cape- verdiana.

Although without detailing, Christine Ourmières-Widener acknowledged that after a “constructive dialogue” between the aeronautical sector regulator and the management of Praia airport, it was possible to establish a “direct link” and apply measures to mitigate this situation.

Cape Verde has four international airports, on the islands of Santiago, Sal, Boa Vista and São Vicente, and three airfields, on the islands of São Nicolau, Maio and Fogo, all operated by the public company ASA.

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