DGCA instructs airlines to be wary of locust invasions

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) warned on Friday that swarms of locusts could pose serious danger to flights during take-off and landing.

“Generally, locusts are found at lower levels and therefore pose a threat to aircraft in the critical landing and take-off phase of the flight,” the aviation regulator noted in its circular. “Almost all air intake ports of the aircraft will be prone to ingestion in large numbers, if the aircraft flies through a swarm.”

The circular said that though a single locust is small in size, the pilot’s forward vision can be impeded if large numbers of the insects land on the windshield. “This is a grave concern during landing, taxi and take-off phase. Use of wipers may sometimes spread the smear even more.”

The circular said air traffic controllers, when aware of the presence of locusts nearby, should immediately inform all arriving and departing flights.

The aviation regulator urged airlines to not fly during a locust invasion as far as possible. “The only favourable aspect is that locust do not fly at night, thus providing better opportunity to sight and avoid them,” the note said.

This year has seen the worst locust attack in India in decades as they are spearing into many states like Punjab, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh after destroying crops in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

Locust containment measures and sprinkling operations have been conducted in 303 locations spread over more than 47,000 hectares.