On 15 August a Ural Airlines A321 flight U6178 took off from Moscow’s Zhukovsky International Airport and while climbing at 750 feet it was hit by a flock of large birds which damaged both engines and pilot managed to land in a cornfield just near the runway. If this had been a populated area, like we have on the periphery of every major airport in Pakistan, the 226 passengers, 7 crew members and hundreds of citizens living in populated areas would have been victims of this catastrophe. Fortunately, Moscow Civil Aviation regulatory authority enforced 15KM sterile zone and pilot skillfully landed in the cornfield, managing to save all those on board. There were no fatalities on the ground because Moscow Civil Aviation had not allowed any urbanization and housing schemes to be built in the vicinity of the airfield.

This should serve as a reminder to our CAA Pakistan and Federal Government of criminal negligence of those who issued NOC to powerful real estate developers to build housing projects right next to fencing of all our airports such as Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan and at Chaklala Airport which was till few months back being used as our International Airport. Even at New Islamabad Airport which has already cost this country over Rs 100 Billion, housing societies are being allowed to emerge, while Federal Government and CAA succumb to powerful land mafia and its nexus within the paid bureaucracy and political elite. Bird activity results because of housing societies, clubs, restaurants and marriage halls, etc built near our airports. Focks of eagles and vultures invade every airfield forcing diversion and damage to engines.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore.