RAWALPINDI: The four Pakistan International Airline (PIA) aircraft grounded last week due to bird strikes have started their flights on international and domestic routes after repair work was done.

The grounding of three airplanes in Karachi and one in Lahore, all within the same week, had disrupted the airline’s flight schedule, incurred loss for the national flag carrier and inconvenienced thousands of travelers.

Two Boeing 777 and two Airbus 320 had been grounded after being hit by birds. The left wing of one Boeing 777 was damaged during landing at the Lahore airport on Friday.

PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar said the four aircraft grounded have resumed their flight schedule.

He said that following the standard operating procedure, the PIA management had written to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for cleaning the area around airports to avoid the gathering of birds as bird strikes cause huge losses to the airline and put lives in danger.

A senior CAA official told Dawn the authority had started a campaign against bird-hit hazards at airports before the first incident happened in Karachi.

Measures taken by CAA for bird control at airports included the deployment of airside inspectors, bird-scarers, air sprays on the airfield, de-nesting, fire crackers and the use of cartridges.

Bird shooters have also been engaged to eliminate birds’ in-and-around airport areas.

The CAA official said an environmental committee had already been formed by CAA which has been working to ensure cleanliness around airports by holding meeting with stake holders and it is an ongoing activity.

“The CAA launches a big campaign – especially on the eve of Eidul Azha against the hazards of throwing garbage and animal waste around airports which attracts birds,” the spokesperson said.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019

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