The acting Commissioner of the Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIB), Akwasi Agyeibi Prempeh, has said that his office will be engaging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Wildlife Society and Department of Parks and Gardens to solicit advice on how to get rid of birds around the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) runway.
The move is to help avoid repetition of the suspected events which led to aborting the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight take-off last Friday.
A statement issued by Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) said the flight, scheduled from Accra to Amsterdam, aborted on take-off after the pilot reported a bird-strike close to the aircraft’s windshield.
Speaking in an interview with the B&FT, Mr. Prempeh said: “What we are planning to do as part of the investigation is to call some key institutions – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wildlife and Parks and Garden – for them to advise us on measures we can take in order to prevent cases of bird-strike.
‘We are in some sort of a rainy season and the birds will definitely fly. As a result, we have to consistently be around the runway monitoring events – especially the grass around the area – so that we don’t have another bird-strike. We want to know if we have to put in some insecticides or weedicides, so the birds will not even make the enclave place their habitat in the first place.”
According to Mr. Prempeh, in accordance with Section 17(b) of the Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation and Prevention Act 2020, Act 1028, the Commissioner is granted the power to institute an investigation into aircraft accidents or incidents which occur.
Additionally, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13 mandates that a state establishes an institution of aircraft and incident investigation to carry out this function.
Consequently, the Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIB) has commenced investigation into the aircraft incident involving KLM Aircraft with registration mark PHBVK that occurred on September 3, 2021, 22:35 (Local Time) at the Kotoka International Airport.
Mr. Prempeh said such incidents need not repeat themselves, because of the financial constraints involved. “They have to park the plane, and this causes a lot of financial liabilities to the Ghana Airports Company Limited, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the airline operator.” He added that it also has implications for the nation’s global airport safety ranking.
In order to ensure effective management of the process through the Commissioner, Air Cdre (Rtd.) Kwame Mamphey has been appointed as the Investigator-in-Charge (IIC). To fulfil Section 5(e)(f)(h) of Act 1028, the investigation will focus on determination of the causes and contributing factors to the incident, and preparation of a report and safety recommendations where applicable.
Also, by international practice the AIB assembled all relevant data before the aircraft was released, as it was assessed to be airworthy after the incident. Its approval to take-off for Amsterdam will not have any negative effects on the investigation process. The process of investigation is expected to be completed within two months.