Latest News

Monday, 15th September 2014
In General Japan News,

Narita trials bird strike measures

Bird strikes are a serious problem at large international airports, with flocks of creatures flying into engines and causing damage every day, which is expensive to repair. However, Narita Airport in Tokyo believes it may have a potential answer.

The measure set to be enforced involves working with a local falconer, who will twice a day launch hawks into the air around the runways. Hawks are highly territorial and have been known to kill other birds in areas they perceive to be their territory.

Last year, 113 bird strikes were reported at Narita Airport, up on 62 the previous year. The dramatic increase was put down to the extension of Runway B, and prompted officials to take action.

Staff were trained to fire blanks at birds five times a day in areas where the winged creatures were prominent, but this had little effect. So airport officials came up with the idea of patrolling a falconer around the runway during the morning and evening hours, when bird strikes are most common.

If the one-week trial is successful, Narita will look into employing falconers full time in an effort to reduce the incidents, which have the potential to cause tragedy.

In January 2009, a US Airways jet taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport was forced to abandon its flight plan and land in the Hudson River, after a flock of birds knocked out its engines. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the incident.

Officials say that they will continue to examine measures to decrease the number of bird strikes, whether or not the falconer is successful. However, for now, the one-week trial is their best hope.

Summer months are considered the peak season for bird strikes.


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