Stray animals at Indian airports

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"Jackals, neelgais, monitor lizards, peacocks, porcupines, snakes, monkeys, foxes, dogs and birds of prey - the diversity of wildlife at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) can give any small town zoo a run for its money."

— an article titled "International airport or animal world?" dated 17 June 2008 published in the Hindustan Times.[1]

Stray animals are common on the runways of Indian airports. These stray animals pose a major threat to air safety in most airports across the nation. According to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials, animals straying onto the runway are routine at many airports in India.[2]

The stray animals found in the runways of Indian airports include dogs, antelope, cows,[2] jackals, snakes, and monkeys.[3]

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Hyenas and jackals have strayed on the runways of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi resulting in their closure.[4] Wild animals like nilgais, spotted deer, and wild boars are found at the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur.[5]

In 2008, a bench at the Nagpur High Court noted that stray animals pose a threat to air safety at the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, which witnessed a series of incidents where wild animals strayed on the runway.[6] From 1 October to 31 December 2009, 200 stray dogs were captured on or near the runways of the Indira Gandhi International Airport.[7] In 2008, a total of 571 animals, including jackals, snakes, and monkeys, were captured at this airport.[3] Stray dogs roam freely inside the Chennai International Airport.[8]

There are many incidents where flight schedules have been disrupted or landing aircraft faced trouble due to animals straying on runways. In 2005, an aircraft taking off from Pune International Airport ran over a stray, which resulted in a two-hour delay for flights.[7][9] In 2008,[7] an Air India aircraft narrowly escaped accident when it hit a nilgai during landing at Kanpur Airport in Uttar Pradesh.[2]

Stray dogs are a significant threat to air safety at the HAL Bangalore International Airport.[10] On 27 March 2008, a Kingfisher Airlines aircraft hit a stray dog on the runway[2] at the HAL Bangalore International Airport,[11] resulting in the aircraft's landing gear collapsing.[12] The aircraft skidded off the runway and its nose collapsed,[13] and four passengers were injured.[11]

In another incident in June 2008, some monitor lizards, jackals and birds of prey strayed on the secondary runway of the Indira Gandhi International Airport causing the airport to be closed for one hour and disrupting the schedules of nearly a hundred flights.[4][14]

In July 2009, a Kingfisher Airlines aircraft hit a stray pig on the runway of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport.[15] In March 2010,[16] a runway at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai was shut for 20 minutes after a stray dog was spotted.[7] In a similar incident at the same airport in January 2016,[17] one domestic flight was forced to abort take-off while four others were made to hover in the skies for more than 15 minutes after a dog strayed into the runway.

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