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To achieve this decrease, monitoring, sightings, dispersal and animal capture functions have been carried out to minimize incidents of animals with aircraft.
- Illustrative photo -

Published Thursday, June 10, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The risk of accidents caused by animals in the operation area of ​​the Juan Santamaría International Airport, in Alajuela Province, decreased 45% in 2020, according to Aeris, the company in charge of managing the airport.

To achieve this decrease, monitoring, sightings, dispersal and animal capture functions have been carried out to minimize incidents of animals with aircraft.

"In aviation, safety is a maxim in every sense and precisely under the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization, at Aeris we are dedicated to achieving and exceeding compliance, but hand in hand with sustainable measures that create a balanced environment for the airport operation and the continuity of the animals in safe spaces," Juan Belliard, director of Aeris said.

According to Belliard, animal control actions have been carried out in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment, which is in charge of relocating the captured animals.

Even though during 2020 the closure of borders caused a decrease in the activity of commercial flights, the cargo operation, domestic flights, rescue flight operations and the activity of the Air Surveillance Service continued. "This provided a relative calm to detect animals inside or outside the airport and the inherent risk of accidents," Aeris said in its statement.

Last year 8,700 patrols were made in the airport and in the nearby zones, where 17,077 animals were detected, of these 62% were birds.

In that year, 14 incidents with animals were registered, of which four cases caused some damage to the airplanes involved in the incident.

This year, 700 patrols have been made and only 9 cases of animals were detected in the aircraft take-off and landing area, none of them have caused an accident.

It’s not just birds causing problems, but coyotes, raccoons, snakes, gray foxes, iguanas, among others have been identified at the airport. Captured animals are taken to animal rescue groups for their release into the wild.

The garbage that is exposed to the open air in the areas near the airport is a factor that attracts animals. To reduce this problem, Aeris installed a waste biodigester in one of the properties near the airport.

With the waste treatment plan, the authorities reported a decrease in animals near the airport where previously the largest populations of carrion-eater birds were detected.

Waste from agricultural activities around the airport could be part of the problem of attracting animals. "In that area, more than 180 livestock and agricultural activities are developed, in which there are more than 16 kilometers of open irrigation, activities that promote the attraction of fauna to the area and the risk of possible impacts of animals with aircraft," Aeris said in its statement.

What methods are used in your country to control animals within the operations areas in airports?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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