MUMBAI: With reports of locusts-sighting in certain parts of the city, the Mumbai air traffic control has alerted its controllers to keep an eye for these grasshoppers. But currently, there are no reports of sightings large enough to impact flight operations.
“Currently, we don’t find any such visible group of locusts in our area,” said Rajeev Mehta, general manager, Mumbai air traffic control. “We have alerted our controllers though to keep a watch for these swarms. In case if there is anything, we will take caution,” he said. Responding to the unverified images and clips doing rounds on WhatsApp about locusts sightings in Mumbai, Mehta said that “it might be a small bunch of locusts which has entered Mumbai”. He added: “If they come in aircraft path, when descending or take-off, they are too small to cause significant impact to engines, their mass is significantly smaller than that of birds. If it’s not a big swarm, it’s not likely to cause any significant impact on aircraft operations.”
A senior commander said that huge swarm of
could cause a problem to aircraft flying at lower heights during a take-off or approach to land. “A few locusts might not cause any damage, even if ingested into aircraft engines. But a dense swarm of locusts might be worrisome, not only because they would get sucked into the engine by hundreds causing problems, but also because they would impair visibility from cockpit, which could affect an approach to land,” he added.
Mumbai airport, like others in the country, had restarted domestic flights this Monday after a two-month ban on air travel, imposed by government to check the spread of coronavirus. The airport has been handling about 50 flight movements a day, which includes 25 arrivals and 25 departures The air traffic is rather sparse in the afternoon with hardly any flight movements as most of the operations happen during the morning and late evening hours.