A rat made its way from Mumbai International Airport to Doha last week onboard an international flight, sparking embarrassment and concerns about the safety of aircraft parked in the Indian city’s bays.
According to the Mumbai Mirror, officials have been struggling to exterminate a “sudden rat menace” at the city’s main airport. The rats appear to be especially fond of nesting and bridging in passenger loading bridges.
The report states that at least four airlines, including Qatar Airways and Emirates, have spotted rats at the airport, in bays 48 to 55. It continues:
“Rodents are a cause of worry as they could damage sensitive aircraft wiring, and this would mean disaster,” an American pilot who docks his aircraft at these bays, and who has brought the matter to the notice of his superiors, said.
“Rats are fond of gnawing off the insulation paddings in aircraft. This could result in malfunctioning or failure of aircraft systems,” he added.
Poor food waste disposal has been cited as one reason that a rat may have stowed away on a recent trip to Qatar, an airport official told the Mirror, which did not identify which airline operated that flight.
To combat the problem, the Mumbai airport has set up rat traps and is adhering to more stringent guidelines regarding garbage disposal onboard aircraft.
The report added:
Experts said though rodent presence on an aircraft is certainly dangerous, all aircraft have built-in alarm systems that set off if there is any break in the wires.
“A flashing light will alert the pilots, and the plane can be diverted to the nearest airport for landing. The crew are trained to know exactly what function each wire carries out and will respond appropriately to deal with the situation,” an airline official said.
Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by Katy Hutch