An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report highlighted more than 1200 wildlife strikes in recent years.
An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report highlighted more than 1200 wildlife strikes in recent years.

Figures show bird strikes on rise

FOR Sydney it's seagulls and bats. For Brisbane, it's the ibis.

In Adelaide, galahs, Melbourne, magpies and flying foxes, the Gold Coast ducks, and Darwin the kite.

Australian airports are fighting a losing battle against wildlife, with the number of hits on commercial and charter flights climbing dramatically in recent years.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report showed more than 1200 wildlife strikes were recorded on aircraft such as 737s, A320s and Dash 8s in 2014 and again in 2015, compared with fewer than 1000 in recent years.

Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast and Sydney airports experienced the biggest increases despite employing a variety of techniques to tackle the problem.

Strategies used with varying degrees of success over the years have included noise cannons, fireworks, guns, lasers, dogs and even a fake crocodile at Cairns Airport.

In a 1996 report by the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation there was only one incident listed at the then Proserpine Airport but increased flights in and out of the now Whitsunday Coast Airport increase the risk of bird strike.

Last year in March a bird strike on a Tiger Airways flight left the aircraft grounded after a bird hit the plane on descent to the airport.

One in 10 bird strikes on commercial aircraft involved a bird or multiple birds being sucked into the engine.

The report found Cairns and Darwin airports were at greatest risk of striking larger birds like ibis, bush turkeys and sea eagles, while other animals such as hares, kangaroos, foxes and frogs also posed issues for airport operators.

Fortunately for travellers, the animals generally suffered a much worse fate than both the aircraft and those on board.