Birds and air traffic safety on Zagreb airport (Croatia)
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One of the objectives of the new State of Croatia, as a Mediterranean country oriented towards tourism, is safety of its air traffic. The frequency of use of Zagreb airport is currently 688 flights, or about 20000 passengers a week. In 1996, research was carried out at the airport concerning air traffic safety with respect to the presence of birds on the airfield. Biological methods, in which birds were chased away by means of trained birds of prey, were used. For the Zagreb airport experiment nine birds involving three different species: Falco peregrinus, Accipiter gentilis and Falco cherrug were utilised. The results showed that the air traffic safety on Zagreb airport with regard to possible bird-plane strikes improved.
Other bird clearing methods, applied over the 1987–1996 period also reduced bird-plane interferences but were noted to be less effective. With the biological, bird of prey method, 100% temporary clearance was achieved. Habitat modification, which involved removal from the airport vicinity of all factors attractive to the birds, only removed 20–30% of the birds, but this was of a more permanent nature. Use of fire-arms achieved a 80–90% temporary bird clearance. A combination of all three methods would appear to be most effective and measures for further monitoring for safe air traffic movement at Zagreb airport are proposed.
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