Bird Strike – Why Aircrafts Are Afraid of Birds

Question! What do aircrafts fear most? Storms? Turbulence? No, it’s actually birds! In fact, there was an incident where birds as small as a human forearm could have claimed 155 lives.

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, which took off from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, lost power in both of its engines after it struck a flock of birds. It occurred just 2 minutes after take-off.

This accident, where the pilot fortunately made an emergency landing on the Hudson River and saved everyone on board, was adapted into the film Sully: Miracle on the Hudson.

This phenomenon where an aircraft strikes a flock of birds is called a bird strike. Bird strikes occur quite often all around the world, costing more than KRW 1.3 trillion annually. Curious as to how and why birds much smaller than aircrafts cause such powerful damage upon impact? Let’s find out!

What makes a bird as light as 1.8 kg a 64-ton airborne bomb?

Airborne birds have what is called relativistic kinetic energy and the faster an aircraft the more powerfully it strikes birds. So, if a bird weighing 1.8 kg strikes an aircraft flying 960 km/h, it creates 64 tonnes of impact. As mentioned earlier, such incidents may lead aircrafts to crash or perform an emergency landing.

Then, why don’t birds just dodge the massive aircrafts headed straight at them? Birds are naturally programmed to avoid obstacles and even predators only if it comes within 30 meters. In other words, they do not respond to objects further than 30 meters from them. It takes only 0.3 seconds for an aircraft flying at 290 km/h to cover 30 meters. You see, bird strikes are near inevitable as it happens almost instantly.

Incheon Airport has around-the-clock bird control personnel?

What a scary thing bird strikes are! But rest assured!

While Incheon Airport saw 17 cases of bird strikes occur in 2019, there was no airplane damage or flight disruption. Currently, Incheon Airport has 30 employees designated to scare away birds around the clock. These employees are veterans professionally trained and qualified with a hunting license.

To supplement the shortcomings of hunting rifles, Incheon Airport introduced ultrasonic bird repellers, which emit sound waves to drive away birds, and successfully showed a demonstration of bird control with Korean drones in 2018. Drones were able to confirm the possibility of bird control by surveilling birds’ flying routes, and served as an opportunity to increase expectations about the usefulness of drones in places like swamps or bushes where it is difficult for people to access or visibly identify birds.

Moreover, Incheon Airport takes the lead in preventing bird strikes by conducting habitat surveys to fundamentally stop the entry of birds while in close collaborative relationships with bird control experts and relevant institutions as well as academia.

Want to learn more about Incheon Airport’s bird control activities? Go check out Incheon Airport TV!

Today, we looked at the meaning, significance and risks of bird strikes, and Incheon Airport’s efforts to prevent them. Incheon Airport will work harder to ensure and manage flight safety for passengers’ safe air travel!

Top 3 Best Sunrise Spots Around Incheon Airport

An eventful 2020 is coming to a close. At a time when carefree daily life has become a thing of the past due to COVID-19, aren’t you wondering what future 2021 holds for us?

That’s why we prepared this post! While wishing you a happy 2021, we would like to introduce to you some places which help you refresh and start again. This post will cover the top 3 best sunrise spots around Incheon Airport worth knowing if you come visit us around the beginning of next year. Let’s take a look at them!

Geojampo Wharf, a wharf where the sun rises and sets

There is a spot to catch the sunrise just 7 km from Terminal 1 of Incheon Airport. It is Geojampo Wharf, which is crowded with tourists on New Year’s Day.

Geojampo Wharf is a special place where you can see both the sunrise and sunset! Hence, it is nicknamed a wharf where the sun rises and sets. This is a place where you can see the last sunset of the year on December 31st and the first sunrise of a new year. Curious to find out more? Keep reading!

There is another reason why Geojampo Wharf is so special. You can see a breathtaking sunrise against the background of Maedorang, also known as a shark islet for its resemblance to a shark’s fin! When the sun slowly rises next to Maedorang, everyone makes a wish and new year’s resolution.

After you make a new year’s wish watching this beautiful sunrise, you will surely feel hungry. There are many restaurants around Geojampo Wharf where you can have breakfast! It is also easy to get there as it is just a 5-minute walk from Yongyu Station, the last station of Incheon Airport’s Maglev Line. Let’s go on a trip to Geojampo Wharf to catch a romantic sunrise!


Location

11, Jamjindo-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon

https://goo.gl/maps/QfcaBgFNHLSnyELw9


 

From Terminal 1

  • Incheon Int’l Airport Terminal 1 Station (Maglev Line) in the direction of Long Term Parking Station (bound for Yongyu Station) → Get off Yongyu Station → Walk for 8 min → Arrive at Geojampo Wharf
  • Click here for other directions

 

From Terminal 2

  • Incheon Int’l Airport Terminal 2 Station (AREX) in the direction of Incheon Int’l Airport Terminal 1 Station (bound for Seoul Station) → Incheon Int’l Airport Terminal 1 → Transfer to the Maglev Line → Get off Yongyu Station → Walk for 8 min → Arrive at Geojampo Wharf
  • Click here for other directions

Seoksangot, where the sun sits over the bridge

Seoksangot, located 7 km from Incheon Int’l Airport Terminal 1 just like Geojampo Wharf, is another famous sunrise spot. This is because you can see the sun rising above the main towers of the Incheondaegyo Bridge.

While Geojampo Wharf is a wharf where the sun rises and sets, Seoksangot is characterized by a sunrise above the sea and city. It is an exotic sunrise spot where the sun rising above Songdo International Business District harmonizes with the main towers of the Incheondaegyo Bridge, making you appreciate both nature and the city. Like Geojampo Wharf, it provides a special landscape with small fishing boats and ships docked in mudflats. Don’t you want to see for yourself the harmony of the Incheondaegyo Bridge and nature?

After seeing the sunrise, it would be a good idea to visit Yeongjongdo Sky Garden near Seoksangot. In this place where airplanes are flying over your head, let’s watch them pass and hope that we can fly freely someday soon!

Seoksangot, a sunrise spot where you can feel the attractiveness of nature and city at once! How about watching a red sunrise slowly rising above the Incheondaegyo Bridge and making a wish for 2021?


Location

2854-2, Unseo-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon

https://goo.gl/maps/YZEe1q7L9niCNxVG9


 

Taxi recommended; no public transport

  • Taxi stand at Terminal 1: Transportation Center on 1F (8C-9C for regular taxi / 4C for international taxi)
  • Taxi stand at Terminal 2: Transportation Center on 1F

Ara Maru Observatory on Gyeongin Ara Waterway, a thrilling glass floor skywalk

The last sunrise spot is Ara Maru Observatory on Gyeongin Ara Waterway famous for its thrilling skywalk on the glass floor. Gyeongin Ara Waterway is the first canal in Korea connecting the sea in Incheon and the Hangang River. Ara Maru Observatory is famous for having the best view of this waterway.

Ara Maru is a round observatory located in a valley with its entire floor made of glass. The floor with 46 meters in diameter is made up of 3-layer reinforced glass, while handrails are made up of 2-layer reinforced glass. It is exciting yet scary as if you are walking in the sky. Imagine what a sunrise would be like here! Wouldn’t it feel as if you walk in the sky while watching the sun rise? Be sure to remember Ara Maru Observatory if you want to experience a sunrise with different sensation! J

After watching the sunrise, you can walk in a walkway built along the waterway or have a hot cup of coffee to warm you up in a rest area in front of the observatory. The rest area has a convenience store, food court, and cafe, where you can grab a bite! Keep in mind that the rest area opens at 9 AM!

Finally, check here for sunrise time, which is important for your sunrise trip! J


Location

Gyeongin Ara Waterway Ara Maru, 228, Ara-ro, Gyeyang-gu, Incheon

https://goo.gl/maps/im5yMHau1fUQGZVw8


 

From Terminal 1

  • Incheon Int’l Airport Terminal 1 Station (AREX) in the direction of Incheon Int’l Airport Cargo Terminal Station (bound for Seoul Station) → Get off Gyeyang Station, and transfer to bus 597 at Exit 1 → Arrive at Ara Maru Observatory in Duksil-dong
  • Click here for other directions

 

From Terminal 2

  • Incheon Int’l Airport Terminal 2 Station (AREX) in the direction of Incheon Int’l Airport Terminal 1 Station (bound for Seoul Station) → Get off Gyeyang Station, and transfer to bus 597 at Exit 1 → Arrive at Ara Maru Observatory in Duksil-dong
  • Click here for other directions

We have looked at three sunrise spots around Incheon Airport. Let’s make a new year’s resolution and wish in one of these sunrise attractions! Incheon Airport hopes that COVID-19 goes away as quickly as possible and we can meet passengers excited about their travel soon.

Heartwarming Commercial Campaigns From Airports Across the World

An airport has been considered a place where you stay as little as possible before visiting somewhere special. We used to say true memories are made from the moment when we get out of the airport.

“What if we create good memories for passengers, which can only be experienced inside the airport?”

The commercial campaigns, which brought new sensations to passengers following their regular routine in the airport, began with this question. This post introduces campaigns held by the London Heathrow Airport, the Canadian West Jet, and the Incheon Airport! 😊

London Heathrow Airport, “Coming Home for Christmas”

Heathrow Airport is an airport near London, representing the UK. It is the largest airport in the UK, the most crowded in Europe, and the third-most crowded airport in the world.

During the winter of 2016, Heathrow Airport drew a lot of attention when it first revealed the commercial “Coming Home for Christmas,” featuring the travel of an elderly teddy bear couple.

The camera follows the teddy bear couple, who picks up their baggage and finds an exit, with warmth in their heart. The couple, arriving at the exit, looks for someone among the crowd waiting for their loved ones. Then, two kids run into the arms of the couple, and the commercial ends with teddy bears switched to humans and hugging their grandkids.

This commercial delivers the warm message that the best gift of all” is being together with your family, which caught the attention of the world. Most of the people wants to spend a warm end-of-the-year with their beloved ones. Many people seemed to empathize with Heathrow Airport’s campaign.

West Jet, “Real-time Giving”

West Jet is an airline headquartered in Calgary, Canada. It is the second largest airline in Canada, following Air Canada.

West Jet unveiled a video titled “Christmas Miracle: Real-time Giving” during the winter of 2013. As its name suggests, it features the event of giving out gifts in real time.

At the event zone installed by West Jet within the airport premises, Santa appears on the screen, asking passengers the gifts they wanted to receive this Christmas. The video dynamically captures the process of how West Jet quickly noted down the list of gifts responded by the passengers until the gifts were delivered even before the passengers could arrive at their destination.

It was impressive to see people satisfied and happy with the gifts and especially a couple who mentioned a big screen TV. This was a campaign that delivered a message saying, miracles do happen when we all work as one.

Incheon Airport, “Experience the Wonders of Korea”

And of course, there is a campaign from Incheon Airport! As a smart airport, Incheon Airport provided a different level of fun with its VR-based commercial campaign, “Experience the Wonders of Korea,” showcased at the end of 2016.

This campaign answers the question on how to turn boredom of passengers waiting in the airport into excitement” with a great idea of bringing the virtual world into reality. It was a surprise event where they set up a VR experience booth inside the airport, where the images the passengers saw in VR were transformed into reality right in front of their eyes. When they took their headset off after seeing various images of Korea in VR, they were surprised to see what they saw from VR unfolding before their eyes.

This campaign was designed to allow people to experience various traditions in Korea such as food, fashion, and martial arts and gained positive feedbacks from both Korean and international passengers. It must have helped foreign tourists who visited Korea for the first time to get more interested in Korea after experiencing such joy and excitement at Incheon Airport, right?

Incheon Airport had again prepared something special at the end of last year to allow passengers to begin a new year with more happiness—the “Hello to Your New Year” holiday campaign! It’s an event that when passengers say hello in front of the booths set up at two different places, they would receive gifts from Korean lucky bags. Click the link below to see more details about the campaign. 😊

So far, we have looked at the heartwarming commercial campaigns from airports across the world, by turning our expectations or giving out unexpected gifts! These campaigns seem to give us the message of how to make use of expectations” of participants. While it is a shame that we cannot do more campaigns due to COVID-19, we hope to see new commercial campaigns at airports crowded with passengers, surprising passengers at the end of next year! 😊

COVID-19 and Today’s International Airports

COVID-19 has changed the flight industry upside down. We were excited as we just thought about traveling overseas but now it feels scary to go abroad for the concern of infectious disease; the airports that were once crowded with travelers are now empty with silence — how do airports around the world respond to the unprecedented crisis?

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Invests in Future Transportation

Source: HARDT (www.hardt.global)

Despite the crisis in the flight industry, the Schiphol Airport located in Amsterdam, Netherlands is investing in future technology for innovation and sustainability. What is the future technology in which the Schiphol Airport is investing?

It is the hyperloop system, a future transportation. The hyperloop train is an ultrahigh-speed train based on magnetic levitation that runs through an air-removed, pressurized capsule. Its speed can reach up to 1,200 km per hour because of the low air and railway resistance. The advantages of the hyperloop system are high capacity, low energy consumption, and high speed. It can even run from Amsterdam to Paris in only 90 minutes!

The Schiphol Airport has plans to substitute short-haul flights with hyperloop and more concentrate on the smooth operation of long-haul flights!

Frankfurt Airport in Germany Focuses on Using Renewable Energy

Source: Fraport (www.fraport.com)

Fraport, the operator of the Frankfurt Airport in Germany, is also making efforts despite the COVID-19 crisis. Using renewable energy for preventing climate change is the area in which the Frankfurt Airport is endeavoring.

Frankfurt Airport has plans to use renewable energy for the most part of energy consumption at the airport by 2030. If this plan is realized, the volume of carbon dioxide emission will be dramatically reduced from 170,000 tons a year to 80,000 tons a year.

Wind power generation will be the main generator of electricity. Also, the airport itself is making efforts to produce electricity through the solar photovoltaic power system, which will generate over 1.5 million kWh per year. With 1.5 million kWh, you can supply 450 four-person households per year. Enormous volume, right?

Incheon Airport Introduces Smart IT Disinfection Service

Incheon Airport is showing outstanding achievement in the area of disinfection. It has completed a carefully controled disinfection system under the slogan of “COVID-19 Free Airport” from the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, and it is stepping forward to settle the Smart Disinfection Service.

First, the Incheon Airport preemptively established the three-step temperature check and the separation of entrants’ traffic. As for the passengers who leave the airport, they should have their temperature checked in three steps: entering the terminal → on the departure floor → at the boarding gate. As for the passengers who arrive at the airport, a parking ramp was assigned for each flight and the passengers were guided to the exclusive arrivals hall in order to separate the traffic of the entrants to prevent the spread of the infectious disease. This excellent disinfection system of the Incheon Airport earned the Airport Health Accreditation from the Airports Council International (ACI), first as an airport in the Asia-Pacific region, and was globally acknowledged.

The Incheon Airport has attracted global attention through its Smart Disinfection System, which combines disinfection with IT technology. The representative service is the fever check service using robots and kiosks. When the robot detects the fever, it shows the designated screening centers nearby and the contact address of the airlines and let the traveler know what process he or she should follow. The kiosk checks the body temperature of up to 30 visitors passing by and produces a beeping sound when it detects a fever. Besides, the Incheon Airport will extend its smart disinfection service by introducing automatic robots to detect whether the passengers are wearing a face mask and developing optimized AI disinfection robots for the Incheon Airport.

What do you think about the efforts made by the international airports after COVID-19? We have witnessed that each airport is responding to the crisis in different ways — investing in future transportation, trying to use more renewable energy, and focusing on disinfection. They are all different, but all airports around the world hope the same that the COVID-19 crisis will be over as soon as possible and they could be full of travelers with a tremor of excitement.

An airline that flew empty airplanes for several months?

There is an airline that flew its 124-seater airplane for several months without any passengers—this airline is British Mediterranean Airways (BMed) which stopped operating back in 2007! Flying empty airplanes reportedly cost the airline KRW 3 billion. Why did the airline choose to fly empty airplanes despite such huge loss?

Flying empty airplanes without passengers or cargo is called ferry flying. Curious about why an airline would fly its planes without transport, which is the main purpose of airplanes? Today, we would like to introduce to you the story of BMed while telling you about ferry flying. Let’s begin by looking at the purpose of ferry flying.

What is the purpose of ferry flying?

There are many reasons for ferry flying empty airplanes. Here are four main situations for airlines to operate ferry flying!

(1) Airplane maintenance

The first reason for ferry flying is airplane maintenance. For airplane maintenance, airplanes need to go to another base or hangar. In such cases, empty airplanes are flown out for maintenance work and the same goes for airplanes that have finished maintenance work! Final inspection is required to see if repairs are done correctly or if there are any problems, and as a test, empty airplanes are flown to inspect their functions.

(2) Importing and exporting airplanes

The second reason for ferry flying is importing and exporting airplanes. Empty airplanes are flown when imported or exported to another country. Ferry flying is how airplanes are delivered from an exporting country to an importing one.

 

(3) Maintaining pilots’ qualification

Third, ferry flying is done to maintain pilots’ qualification. Pilots are required to take off and land airplanes periodically to maintain their qualification.

For instance, a pilot for large 500-seater A380 aircrafts must have at least three take-offs and landings within the past 90 days. However, as it became difficult for A380 pilots to maintain their qualification due to COVID-19, Asiana Airlines recently flew empty airplanes despite the heavy cost per flight. While it is possible to maintain qualification through flight simulators, only Korean Air has one A380 simulator among Korea’s airlines, and they say it is barely enough for their training.

(4) Air charter or special flights

The last reason is air charter or special flights. Empty airplanes are flown when they come back after transporting passengers to the destination or go to pick up passengers.

Do you remember that Korea recently sent air charter airplanes to other countries due to COVID-19? In March, the Vietnamese government suddenly banned airplanes departing from Korea from landing in Hanoi Airport, and an airplane from Asiana Airlines returned all of a sudden. In the end, Korean airlines conducted ferry flying to get there to pick up stranded Korean passengers in Vietnam. Since the country sent air charter airplanes to Italy and New Zealand, there must have been several ferry flights, right? J

Why did BMed conduct ferry flying for several months?