Over the past five years, increasing human activities and poor waste disposal around airports in Ghana, have led to an increase in bird strikes.
A bird strike, a collision between a bird and an aircraft in flight or on a take-off or landing roll, can cause serious damage to aircraft, airport infrastructure and loss of lives.
Financial loss resulting from bird strikes is estimated at $1.2 billion per year.
At the national level, AviationGhana analysis of GACL data shows that between 2017 and 2022 there were 199 bird strikes. This translates into 6.4 bird strike incidents per every 1000 aircraft movement.
Survey findings within a 13 Km radius of all Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) operated airports indicate that the main factors influencing the abundance of Kites and Lapwings birds are the level of human-centered activities including, food, water, habitat cover, waste dump sites, farms, siting of abattoir, and general cleanliness.
Bird strike incidents between 2017 and 2022 were highest at the Kumasi Airport, followed by Tamale and Wa Airports. Ghana's main international airport, the Kotoka International Airport, records three (3) bird strikes per every 1000 aircraft movement.
GACL data reveals that the main locations serving as attractions for mainly Kites and Lapwings birds that are responsible for most of the bird strikes recorded at Kotoka International Airport include: The inadequate waste management near La Omanye Gallery & La Palm Beach, Bawaleshie, Old Ashongman Cemetery, GIMPA-Haatso Bypass, Dome Roman Catholic Church, and Nima.
At the Kumasi Airport, the main locations where indiscriminate dumping of waste attracts birds responsible for the number of air strikes recorded at the Kumasi International Airport are: Dote Township, Nkotompo Ne Afere Township, and Sepetinpom Township
Inadequate waste management and indiscriminate waste disposal in Jisonayili in Tamale and Mofon in Savelugu respectively are the key attractions for birds that impact the operations of the Tamale Airport
While the GACL has jurisdiction to manage on-site hazards, the off-site management of these waste disposal sites falls on the various local assemblies in the various areas stated.
At a recent safety week event held at the Kotoka International Airport, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Ghana Airports Company Limited expressed their commitment to continue working together and collaborate with other state actors to curb bird strike incidents nationwide.