Airport fined for damages sustained in a bird strike

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Malta International Airport (MIS) has been ordered to pay more than “250,000 in damages to Air Malta and to an insurance company for the damages to an Air Malta plane sustained in a bird strike.

The judge involved, Mr Justice Pace, said that plaintiff companies were basing their claim on the fact that MIA, as the operator of the airport, had failed to observe the Convention on International Civil Aviation and had not installed adequate bird control measures.

The court said that compensation had to be paid in two parts – “129,489 for lack of responsibility by MIA and compensation of “121,037 to insurance company Shield (Guernsey) for repairing the plane.

The incident goes back to December 2004 when Air Malta was operating flight KM100 to London. When the Air Malta Airbus started its take off process from MIA, a sizeable flock of starlings flew into the plane”s flight path.

The flight had to terminate abruptly for reasons of safety and the plane had eventually returned to MIA. Air Malta claimed that it had suffered damages to its plane as a result of this accident which was caused by the fact that MIA did not have an adequate bird strike reduction system in place.


Air Malta plane An Air Malta plane coming in to land at Heathrow 

MIA had a vehicle with bird scaring equipment but, on the day of the incident, it was not in use because the driver was off duty and MIA had a problem providing a substitute. Moreover, the vehicle was not in a state to pose a problem to starlings.

This incident only goes to show how dangerous stray birds are at airports. Readers will remember that Canada geese were found to be the cause of the US Airways jet that ditched in the Hudson River in New York, USA in January 2008. See Pest news report here.

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