Honeybees ‘hijack’ 3 planes at new airport terminal

Discussion in 'Internal Security' started by bhramos, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    Messages:
    13,207
    Likes Received:
    6,638
    Location:
    Telangana/India/Bharat
    KOLKATA: It's a sting that has Kolkata airport authorities smarting. Three aircraft, all of them parked at the new integrated terminal, were hijacked by honeybees on Monday, sending airline staff scurrying for cover and raising fears that the swanky new terminal could have turned into a happy nesting ground for the insects with a sting in the tail.

    The first ambush happened at 9.40am when bees swarmed IndiGo flight 6E 339 to Patna. Boarding had just been completed and the ground staff were loading luggage when several thousand honeybees entered the cargo hold in the aircraft's belly. Caught in the invasion, the airline staff ran helter-skelter even as the flight crew quickly shut the plane's door to prevent havoc within the cabin. At the time, 170 passengers were seated in the aircraft.

    The bees made themselves cosy in the cargo hold, forcing the airline to suspend baggage-loading. The captain radioed the ATC for help and a fire truck was dispatched. It took a water cannon to force the nesting bees out. The plane took off 21 minutes behind schedule.

    Less than an hour later, the honeybees struck again. This time, it was a Bangalore-bound plane. Around 10.45am, the honeybees began settling on the cockpit windshield when the packed plane was leaving the parking bay. The captain called for help but then decided to get on with the flight since the aircraft was secured and ready for take-off. Once the aircraft began taxiing, the bees flew away. "Though the bees would have been swept away once the aircraft accelerated, it is unnerving for any pilot to see the creepy crawlies on the windshield," a pilot said.

    Following the twin invasions, airlines refused to park their aircraft in front of the new terminal. When it rained in the afternoon, everyone breathed a sigh of relief as bees are generally known to settle down when the temperature cools. So when the ATC allotted a bay opposite the new terminal to a Delhi-bound IndiGo aircraft, the airline agreed. But just as passengers were boarding the aircraft, the bees returned and swarmed the roof of the step-ladder fixed to the front door. The airline staff quickly shut it and urged passengers to hurry into the aircraft through the rear door.

    The flight took off without delay but the bee invasions left airline officials fuming. "The bees could have stung passengers or airline staff. Worse, there would have been panic inside the aircraft if they had infiltrated the cabin," an airline official said.

    The last time it happened, airport authorities and airline officials thought it was a migrating swarm that had made an unscheduled stop. But after what happened on Monday, there is real fear that bees have nested in the airport.

    The official of another airline felt there was something wrong with the southern end of the apron area in bays located in front of the new terminal. "Even on August 23, honeybees had invaded a Mumbai-bound Air India aircraft that was parked in the same zone (parking bays 51 to 53). We suspect honeybees have built a nest somewhere in the mammoth structure of the new terminal. The authorities should carry out a fumigation drive," he said.

    Airlines operators' committee chairman Sarvesh Gupta did not rule out the possibility of bees inhabiting the new terminal before it was opened to passengers. "A few years ago, I had faced a similar situation in the cockpit at Delhi airport. Terminal 3 was then under construction," he recounted.

    Honeybee invasion isn't uncommon. This year, Pittsburg International Airport in the US has had four such nesting attempts, the latest last month. Since honeybees are protected insects in the country, the airport had to engage a professional beekeeper to remove the bees with a soft brush.

    Bees usually migrate to avoid crowded living conditions. When a honeybee colony becomes too large, the old queen bee takes off in search of a new nesting place with half the colony. Bees are also forced to feel when driven away by honey collectors. Gupta said he would meet airport officials and do a recce of the airport and try to locate the hives.

    Honeybees ‘hijack’ 3 planes at new airport terminal - The Times of India
     
  2.  
  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Honey bees are a menace.

    And the are also Protected Species.
     

Share This Page