Amsterdam Schiphol Airport used pigs to stop bird attacks on planes

  • Pigs were used to ward off birds around Holland’s main international airport.
  • The pilot program, launched in Amsterdam, was established to reduce the number of bird attacks.
  • About 20 livestock were used to chase larger birds away from aircraft.

In Amsterdam, pigs were recently used to help ward off birds from the airport area.

About 20 domestic animals were used to hunt larger birds, such as geese, in the area around Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam, the airport said in a press release.

The pilot project was carried out in September to find out whether pigs might be able to help deter birds from flying. Birds are a danger to airports and airplanes because they can cause damage if they are sucked into aircraft engines. They can also damage the exterior of the aircraft, cause crashes and injure passengers.

Here’s how it works: The pigs would be able to come and eat crop residues, which attract birds and remove a food source.

The pigs grazed on a piece of land between two runways, where sugar beets were recently harvested. Bird activity in the area with the pigs was compared to a plot without pigs.

Schiphol is the Netherlands’ most important international airport and one of the largest transport hubs in Europe. It is the third busiest airport in Europe after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

The six-week pilot project ended in the first week of November, Schiphol spokeswoman Willemeike Koster told CNN.

Koster said the project was “informative” and that the data collected will be examined in the coming months, and a decision on long-term use of pigs is expected early next year.

By 2020, the airport experienced about 150 bird attacks, Koster told CNN. Birds tend to cause serious danger to aircraft when the animals are sucked into the engines.

Schiphol also takes structural measures to keep birds away from aircraft. For example, 20 bird controllers were set up to keep track of bird activity at the airport.

The controllers work throughout the aerodrome to keep the birds away at all times of the night and day by using special sounds and laser beams. Other measures are also in place, such as using special types of grass that are unattractive to birds.

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