With cases of bird-hits increasing, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is preparing to install aviation radar at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Birendra Prasad Shrestha, acting general manager of TIA, said CAAN was preparing specifications to announce tender for procuring aviation radar. “We are working to announce global tender for aviation radar within April,” said Shrestha, adding that the tender will be opened for a maximum of 90 days.
According to Shrestha, aviation radar, which is also known as bird detection radar, will have horizontal radar, vertical radar and a camera that helps to detect bird in 10-kilometer radius. The horizontal radar will give information about the location of the bird i.e. on which side of the runway it is located. Likewise, the vertical radar will help to determine the height in which the bird is flying. Similarly, the camera will identify the type, size, and direction in which the bird is flying. The camera will also determine even if the bird is hidden in the bushes. The high resolution cameras will provide more detailed information and the night vision camera helps to get information even in the night time.
The aviation radar is expected to cost more than Rs 200 million. CAAN hopes to install the aviation radar and bring it into operation within a year.
“Surveillance is carried out with the help of radar. We will relay information about the bird, such as direction and height of the bird, to the pilots. If birds are near the runway, professional shooters will be deployed to remove the bird,” said Shrestha.
There is an Airport Bird Control and Reduction Committee (ABCRC) under TIA. The committee has five professional shooters who work to control and remove birds from the runway. ABCRC uses various methods like installing scarecrow, blowing sirens, explosion of gas cannons, as well as using pyrotechnic lights, anti-perching devices, ultrasonic sounds and pesticides like Benomyl. The committee has also banned operation of meat shops in the radius of 3 km from TIA. Similarly, sweeping of the runway is done every day to clear earthworms.
According to TIA officials, crows, black kites and eagles are creating problems in the airport after solid waste disposal site near Mulpani started operation in 1986. The site has been closed now.
Altogether 96 cases of bird-hits, most of them in TIA, have been recorded in Nepal so far.
A Thai Airways aircraft suffered bird-hit while landing at TIA on March 22. A day later, a Yeti Airlines aircraft hit a bird while taking off from Pokhara airport. There was no loss of life and property in those accidents. The most severe case of bird-hit was the Sita Air crash on the banks of Manohara River in September, 2012, where 19 people, including 13 foreigners, were killed.