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How to develop appropriate bird-aircraft strike reduction programs to combat bird and other wildlife strikes to aircraft.

Examine Existing Legislatory provisions

            Before any competent bird-aircraft strike reduction plan is implemented it is important to conduct an efficient research on the existing legislatory provisions governing bird control activities. According to LeMieux and LeMieux (2009), "Most bird species are protected by federal and state laws, and the legal status of the birds needs to be checked before an attempt is made to control them. Migratory birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918...prohibits taking of any migratory bird or their parts...Some species are further protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, section 9 which prohibits any person from taking an endangered species" (p.111-112). This implies that it is important for the programs to run in a manner that conforms to the regulatory parameters.

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The Involvement of Expert Analysis

            This includes the implementation of a competent Wild Life Assessment program which has been prepared and tested by an expert in the field of bird air strike prevention. This is usually done whenever an airport experiences incidents of substantial damage resulting from striking wildlife, occurrence of multiple wildlife strikes by a aircraft carrier, and engine ingestion of wildlife by am aircraft carrier (LeMieux and LeMieux, 2009). This report is ordinarily submitted promptly to the FAA for record keeping and conduction of future assessments. Such incidents have initially lead to the necessity of a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan for the affected airport. These incidents should therefore be taken into consideration when looking into such matters.

Need to consult the involved authorities

            The involved authorities have a fundamental role in the implementation of respective recommendations suggested in the bird air strike control plan. This is because they have teams capable of carrying out respective field analysis with regard to land formulation initiatives. According to LeMieux and LeMieux, WHA is conducted by a wildlife damage management biologist assigned by the USDA in most cases and the duty of this person is to analyze and recommend a scientific basis for developing, implementing, and refining a competent WHMP (LeMieux and LeMieux, 2009).

Establishing the wildlife species in consideration

            Ordinarily, different bird species pose different threats to the airplanes. According to LeMieux and LeMieux (2009), "The wildlife species observed must be identified; and their numbers, locations, local movements, and daily and seasonal occurrences must be reported. In most cases, this requirement dictates that a 12-month assessment be conducted so that the seasonal patterns of birds and other wildlife using the airport and surrounding area during annual cycle an be properly documented" (p.113). It is important to note that different geographical entities usually experience seasonal differences and occurring species of migratory and non migratory birds.

Examine and Establish Specific Bird Attractants

            According to LeMieux and LeMieux (2009), "In order to achieve this sort of control, though, it is necessary to first examine what attracts birds to airports; the major attractants are food, water and cover. The vertical threat area extends from surface to 3000 feet because, according o the FAA bird strike database, 92% of bird strikes occur within these altitudes. The horizontal threat area come from an FAA recommendation of 5 stature miles between the farthest edge of the airport and bird attractants if the attractant could cause hazardous wildlife movement across the approach or departure airspace" (p.

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112).

 

Formulate the plan and Mitigation

            In order for a competent wildlife management plan to be significantly accomplished there is need for the following entities to be analyzed: "identify appropriate wildlife management techniques to minimize wildlife hazard; prioritize appropriate management measures; recommend necessary equipment and supplies; identify training requirements for the airport personnel who will implement the WHMP; and identify when and how the plan will be reviewed and updated" (LeMieux and LeMieux, 2009). These aspects are critical in ensuring that the proposed plan leads to effective outcomes that are bound to benefit the airline stakeholders significantly. The Wildlife Hazard Management at Airports stipulates four measures for mitigating threats posed by birds in any airport and these include: aircraft schedule modification, repellent and harassment techniques, habitat modification and exclusion, and wildlife removal (LeMieux and LeMieux, 2009).

Compare methods used between the FAA and the military.

FAA methods

            FAA methods have been existence for a long time now due to the central and increasing role it has played in the current industry. According to Ashford et al, ICAO recommendations that a control program should ordinarily entail the following: identify the problem species, determine bird behavior patterns, study the ecology of the airport environment, and determine specifically the things encouraging  problem species to that particular habitat (Ashford et al, 1998). In common practice ICAO recommendations are potentially guided by initial FAA methods which are essentially listed above. In addition FAA recommends control of garbage, control of other bird food sources, occurrence of surface water, control of proximity farming activities, planting vegetation that discourages birds, and eliminating potential bird nestlings in the surrounding buildings.

Military Methods

            Military methods of controlling bird air strikes mostly rely upon technological provisions given the relative complexity of military based systems. This usually involves the inclusion of habitat control measures in order to control birds capable of appearing in significantly high numbers. Moreover, the military usually implores the use of modern dispersion and expulsion techniques. Thee include Pyrotechnic devices (firecrackers, rockets, flares, shell crackers, live ammunition, gas cannons), recorded distress calls, dead or model birds, model aircrafts and kites, light and sounds of a disturbing nature, trapping, falcons, narcotics and poisons" (Ashford, 1998).

How it is affecting the airline industry

            The occurrence of bird air strike incidents are affecting the operations of airlines in varying ways some of which include: the potential reduction of profits due to passenger scares and concerns after serious incidents, the resulting costs of repairing spoilt airplane components are far too expensive, and the constant introduction of new techniques serves to increase an airlines operating costs focusing on direct and indirect cost fundamentals.

How much it's costing them on aircraft repairs and possible lawsuits

            The relative costs resulting from bird air strikes have been estimated to be high and it is determined by the type of collision and bird species (this determines its weight, feather component, and force generated from impact).

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According to a report released by the Bird Strike control program the following are cost projections for the year 2002:

 

Average Cost of a Common Bird Strike in 2002

 

Species

Strikes Identified

Total Damage

Average $ per Strike

Mourning Dove

 

$ 500,000

$ 3,787

Horned Lark

112

$ 29,000

$259

Red-Tailed Hawk

24

$ 634,000

$ 26,416

Mallard Duck

9

$ 626,000

$ 69,000

Canada Goose

3

$ 258,000

$ 86,000

 

(Birdstrike Control Program, 2009)

These costs are relatively high and this excludes the component of law suits and what they have impacted upon this industry. The costs resulting from law suits have basically been as a result of the occurrence of damage liabilities, for instance, non-contractual liability, contractual liability, subjective liability, objective liability, and proper liability. An example of law suit involving bird air strikes is 'The Genoa Case' involving ingestion of multiple birds at Genoa airport in Italy (Accipiter Radar, 2009).

How the FAA and military can lower the environmental impact to the natural echo system of the area

            According to Short and Sullivan (2003), the application of an Environmental Management System caters for organizations irregardless of their sizes, types or missions with a flexible and dynamic model for managing their respective obligations (Short & Sullivan, 2003).  The common nature of Bird control activities implemented by the FAA and Military methods commonly leads to habitat alteration and modification, extreme noise, deposition of chemicals leading to leaching into soil, and in addition, this could lead to the potential death of other birds that were not targets of the control programs. In practice, the military and FAA methods pose a potential threat to the environment's status in the long term. The implementation of an Environmental Management System conforms to ISO 14001 is essential. ISO 14001 defines EMS as: "that part of the overall management system which includes organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the environmental policy" (Short & Sullivan, 2003).

            There is need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Audit (EA) system, which will enable the identification of potential impacts on the environment including respective follow up on the implementation of the same. According to Short and Sullivan (2003), "This means that each activity involved in bird control would be identified and evaluated separately for the potential interaction with the environment aspects, bird control activities may or may not be deemed significant...For example, Athens International Airport has integrated bird hazard control into its EMS..." (Short & Sullivan, 2003).

            In order to sufficiently protect the surrounding echo systems, there is need to implement am airport master planning, land use planning and safeguarding, land use management, legislation and regulation, and environmental management plan (Vreedenburgh, 2007). For instance, the environmental management plan would entail the reduction of noise exposure levels, monitoring of air quality parameters for chemical residues, monitoring water quality for chemical residues, and inclusion of a waste/energy management criterion. Alternatively, physical planning could be implemented with regard to land area and airspace; environmental planning with regard to people, flora and fauna; hazards inclusion with regard to smoke and wildlife; and monitoring land use compatibility (Vreedenburgh, 2007).

Graph: See the positive and negative cash value year to year. If the money value spent in aircraft repairs increases the program is not working. If the money value decreases means that the program is working.

           The graphs portray an increasing trend of accidents resulting from bird air strikes over the years despite the significant introduction of the program. These figures correlate well with increasing costs incurred in form of repairs and replacements by affected airlines (Henderson, 2007). Looking at the yearly variation in the Costs incurred during control of Bird Air Strikes there is need for adequate reporting system to be implemented in order to cover all these critical costs. According to Allan (n.d), "Reliable estimates of the cost of bird strikes to civil aviation are difficult to obtain, because of the failure of commercial airlines to collate bird strike damage data separately from other costs and because of poor standard of reporting of bird strike incidents around the world" (p.147). However, with the inclusion of bird air strike control programs there is a significant reduction observed in the relative finances spent on repairs.

What are the fixed costs?

            Fixed costs refer to non evolving costs irregardless of the market situation (Melvin, 2003). The fixed costs appear to be increasing given the increasing trends portrayed for normal repairs.  

Variable costs

            Refers to the resulting on labor and material manifested as a result of changes in respective volume of production costs (Melvin, 2003). This in combination with fixed cost gives total cost of production. The variable costs also appear to be increasing considering the more number of loses incurred in the recent past.

Long run

These refers ton a period in time during which costs significantly vary especially periods longer than 1 year. Taking an analysis of the periodic variations and the decreasing trends portrayed, this suggests that the long run costs are relatively high given the recurring factors in the industry.

Short run

            This refers to a period during which only certain variable factors are capable of being subjected to change since time factor limits change to other factors (Melvin, 2003). This especially applies to periods during which accidents occur. For instance, a major U.S airline recorded the following after a bird air strike losses of $ 75,000 (primary delay), $ 75,000 (primary cancellation), $ 35,000 (secondary delay), and $ 75,000 - secondary cancellation (Allan, n.

d). These costs can be classified as short run costs after loss of the aircraft.

 

                                               Sunk cost

            This refers to non recoverable costs (Melvin, 2003). These are costs that cannot be recovered and are usually in terms of human resources loss from lives lost after a bird air strike crash. This is especially seen in military bird air strikes. The yearly estimates portray an increasing trend for both cases.

Marginal cost

            This is the extra cost incurred in the production of an extra unit of an output (Melvin, 2003).  The marginal costs are relatively high further suggesting a negative element in the respective implementation of the air strike programs.
For instance, costs incurred by an airline when replacing an engine jet using either a leasing agreement or a buying a new one. If the airline is to replace an engine the extra cost of buying or leasing a new engine unit introduces an extra element, which contributes to a marginal cost.

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