The management of Jinnah International Airport, Karachi has placed scarecrows around its premises to keep birds away.
Instead of using modern bird repellent techniques, it is employing an ancient method that was used to scare the birds away from crops. Scarecrows were common and effective in the olden days but they failed to serve the purpose at the airport because the authorities had not taken into account that birds have become cleverer.
Birds have learned over the years that these stationary structures with outstretched arms are not harmful and can be used as perches. This has proved to be costly for aircraft as airlines suffer losses in millions of dollars due to the damages caused by the growing number of bird strikes.
According to a report published earlier this year, hundreds of bird strikes occurred between 2020 and 2021 in which 69 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aeroplanes were damaged. Windscreen damage thus caused is a regular incident but birds getting stuck in engines is more problematic.
The spokesman for PIA said the bird strikes often damage engines worth millions of dollars and threaten hundreds of lives on board. The aircraft then have to be grounded for inspection and repairs, which disturbs flight schedules.