London City Airport is located in the Docklands, an urbanized area. A great location for city hopping traffic, but unfortunately it also attracts another group of travellers: sea gulls, crows and pigeons.
Location: London, England
Product: Aerolaser Handheld
Birds dispersed: Sea gulls, crows and pigeons
In use since: March 2016
Benefits for London City Airport
• 20% cost reduction in shotgun cartridges
• 40% cost reduction in pyrotechnics
• 28% less low altitude bird strikes
• Shorter intervention times
London City Airport used a lot of different bird dispersing methods. Such as pyrotechnics and acoustics. Because of the setup of the airport located in an urbanized area, these tools were not sufficient and efficient enough.
Results after use
London City Airport benefits greatly from the Aerolaser Handheld. The tool decreased intervention time and intervention distances. The data shows a significant reduction in both operational cost and bird strike numbers.
“The implementation of the Aerolaser Handheld at London City Airport resulted in 28% reduction of low altitude bird strikes.”
Many airports have the luxury of grass fields around the runway where you can easily move from A to B. Because of the setup of London City Airport the bird control team has to cross the runway to go to the other side. This requires contacting the air traffic control unit, resulting in a longer intervention time. With the addition of the Aerolaser Handheld there is no longer the need to cross the runway. The team simply positions themself in the middle of the airfield; the range of the laser takes care of the rest. Ryan Biggerstaff, Airport Duty Manager: “That was one of the biggest efficiency benefits for us using the laser. The tool decreased our intervention time and intervention distances.”
London City Airport started with a six-month trial and then bought the Aerolaser Handheld. “One of the first things we noticed using the laser is that the birds did not get habituated to its use.” Before the trial Ryan was afraid that lasers and planes would not mix well. But during the 6 months period they had zero safety related incidents. “Bird Control Group came over for a training. We noticed that the laser is very user friendly and safe to use. Our doubts proved unnecessary.”
After using the Aerolaser Handheld for twelve months London City Airport collected all the data. “We saw a reduction in bird scaring rocket ammunition of 40%. That is a pound or two for a rocket so you do the math. Next to this big saving we saw a reduction of 20% in cartridges for our pistols. Another financial gain.” But as for many airports the biggest win is reducing the amount of low altitude bird strikes. “You can’t compare the cost of bird preventing tools with the cost of an airplane engine. Therefore, we were very happy to see that we managed a 28% reduction by the third quarter of the year in bird strikes in comparison to the previous year.”
Bird strike reduction is top priority
The mission of the bird control team is clear: safety first. “Of course it’s an investment, but we would do anything to reduce bird strikes.” In the end Ryan concludes that the Aerolaser is worth every pound. “With the cost saving reductions and the reduction in bird strikes we feel that the Aerolaser is a very effective tool for us. Therefore it has become our most used method for dispersing birds. That proves how effective it is.”