Bird strike delays Aero flight at Port Harcourt International Airport

By Ikuru Lizzy

The Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) at the Port Harcourt International Airport says a bird strike led to an air return by Aero Contractors flight at the airport.

Mr Kunle Akinbode, Assistant Manager, Operations, Port Harcourt International Airport, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.

He debunked a rumoured emergency landing of the flight, saying that bird strike was a common experience in the aviation industry.

“Yesterday, May 17, an Aero Contractors flight enroute Port Harcourt – Abuja at about 10 am was affected by a bird strike leading to a delay.

” The affected aircraft has three engines, so in the course of taking off, a bird got stocked in one of the engines and this is called a bird strike in the aviation industry.

“This is a common experience anywhere in the world, its not peculiar to Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, it’s impossible to prevent birds from flying in the airspace.

“They can only be techically chased away to help reduce them in the air site.

” When the pilot noticed that one of the aircraft engines had packed up because a bird was stocked in it, he had to make an air return not an emergency landing as was widely rumoured.

“An emergency landing is when a pilot experiences an accident threatening situation, in this case all protocols are usually ruled out to pave way for a quick landing.

“So an emergency landing is quite different from an air return. Nevertheless, if he chose to proceed, those two engines would have taken him to Abuja but for safety reasons, he chose to return,” Akinbode explained.

He also said that once an engine entraps a bird, it certainly takes an expert to rectify the situation, adding that at about 4pm same day, affected passangers were reassigned another aircraft.

The airport official, however, expressed worry over rumours making rounds on the internet.

“Sadly passangers and some social media users have since been posting diverse views and information on a seemingly controlled issue.

“I really don’t blame the passengers because they where not properly briefed by the flight officials, which to me, was very necessary,” he added. (NAN)