Russia's main airport faces high danger from dump birds

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Moscow Sheremetyevo 2 International Airport airfield

It has been unveiled that aircraft operating at or near a major Russian airport, the Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport, have for about four years been at high risk of bird strikes because of a high number of birds nesting nearby on a large, illegal landfill site. Prominent Russian social activist Alexey Navalny, whose anti-corruption campaigns are nowadays largely discussed on the Internet in Russia and general press, on Friday published a LiveJournal post with the details on the case.

Navalny, among other things, references the recent writings in the LiveJournal blog of the airport's Director General Mikhail Vasilenko, who has publicly expressed concerns about the birds near the airport. He says that, since the landfill came into existence, there have been 141 instances of planes hitting birds while flying near the airport and 21 instances at the airfield during takeoff and landing operations. Bird strikes are a common problem in aviation that can lead to equipment damage and human casualties.

The damaged fan blades on this engine clearly demonstrate the potential danger from bird strikes

It has been reported that, for a long time, airport administration and groups of local citizens concerned with the landfill have been appealing to different Moscow Oblast and Russian Federation authorities to address the problem, but almost nothing has been done to close the landfill due to obstacles in local governing and commerical systems. It has been emphasized that the existence of the landfill in question is not officially permitted, and as such, the landfill is operating illegally.

As reported by Navalny, the only thing state authorities could recently accomplish, was a temporary suspension of trash transportation during May 7–12, when many world leaders came to Moscow through Sheremetyevo—historically the state's main civil airport—to celebrate Russia's 65th Victory Day. That was made possible only with the interference of Federal Protective Service, the state service which protects top Russian officials.

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