Two flights delayed due to bee attack at Kolkata airport

  • | Tuesday | 1st December, 2020

A swarm of honeybees held back two flights – both run by Vistara -- on Sunday and Monday for almost an hour each at Kolkata airport. Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee said both the incidents of bee attack took place on different Vistara flights parked almost around the same place – bay no. 25.

A swarm of honeybees held back two flights – both run by Vistara -- on Sunday and Monday for almost an hour each at Kolkata airport. Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee said both the incidents of bee attack took place on different Vistara flights parked almost around the same place – bay no. 25.

None of the two flights - one headed to Port Blair (Monday) and the other flying to Delhi (Sunday) – had any passengers as the bee attack was noticed just before the flight was about to be taken to the runway.

"On both occasions, fire brigade personnel sprayed water from water cannons on the swarm of bees to drive them away. Following the back to back incidents, a team of officials from Kolkata airport searched the area and sprayed insecticide in the surrounding places. However, even after an extensive search, no beehives were spotted in the zone,” said Bhattacharjee.

An airline official even posted a video of Monday’s bee attack on his Youtube and Twitter profiles of thousands of bees swarming a Vistara flight near the front right door of the aircraft and it soon became viral across social media platforms. The swarm of bees were found to have almost covered two windows and a large area surrounding the same.
"Bad weather. A technical fault. A late-arriving aircraft. 

Incidentally, in September last year, a Kolkata-Agartala Air India flight was delayed by two hours after a swarm of bees attacked the aircraft on the runway taking over the left cockpit glass almost blinding the pilot. The flight had 136 passengers and crew members and was about to take off when the bees attacked the plane. During Monday and Sunday’s attack, the flights were still stationed at the parking bay.

Senior pilots and airline officials said no aircraft is allowed to take off if it has a swarm of insects on its body. “Each aircraft has several small probes, which determine the static pressure and the total pressure of an airflow located in the vicinity of the aircraft. These are extremely sensitive, and even if one bee goes inside the probe, the air speed indicators can go wrong, leading to a major accident," said a veteran pilot.



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