Birds to be kept away at third Istanbul airport

Birds to be kept away at third Istanbul airport

Birds to be kept away at third Istanbul airport Authorities plan to remove puddles, garbage and trees from the vicinity of Istanbul’s controversial third airport so as to reduce the presence of birds that could threaten flights, Turkey’s transport minister has said following criticism that the airport is located along a key migratory route.

“In and around the airport, the construction work will be conducted so that there are no living spaces for birds,” Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said.   

The statement came as a response to a parliamentary question from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Vice President Sezgin Tanrıkulu concerning the migratory routes of birds and flight security measures.

“Birds’ flight routes are being identified as observations on their migration have been conducted by a team led by an [ornithologist] for two years. They are conducted by methods recognized internationally. But a risk analysis on bird and plane crashes can be prepared only by making bird counts during the construction and after the airport starts operating. Bird observation reports which will include the measures concerning the movement of the birds will be prepared by an expert team before the construction starts,” Yıldırım said. 

“The migration and flight routes of the birds will be identified by observing migrant, local species and species that spend the winter here for two years in spring and fall migration periods in order to develop ideas for measures to be taken. Bird observation reports will be presented in six-month periods to the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry’s Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks for consultation before the airport is opened and if needed, bird observation radars will be installed before issuing an operation license for the airport. The radar system will enable us to monitor birds’ migration movements and regulate the landings and takeoffs of the planes,” Yıldırım said adding that the project was planned in compliance with the ICAO Annex-14 criteria which oversees meteorological, topographic and navigation conditions. 

Yıldırım also said any prediction concerning damage to planes from birds would be incorrect given that such incidents happen around the world.

The new under-construction airport in Istanbul will begin operations in 2018 with two runways and one terminal, but it is expected to reach a capacity of 150 million passengers after the completion of two more runways and additional facilities.