• Air India chairman joins rodent watch

    After the frequent grounding of its aircraft due to rodents, Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani carried out an inspection at Delhi airport and directed the staff to ensure strict maintenance and cleanliness of the hi-lift trucks used by catering companies.

    Also, staff of the government-owned airline will be restrained from eating meals in the ramp area (where the aircraft is parked during boarding). “We have also requested Delhi International Airport Ltd to provide space for a staff canteen,” said Lohani.

    On Saturday, an AI Boeing 787 on the Melbourne-Delhi flight was diverted to Singapore, after a rat was spotted on board. The plane was fumigated in Singapore and passengers flown to India on another flight. This was the third instance of grounding of an AI aircraft due to rodents. Rats were also spotted on an aircraft between Birmingham and Delhi, and while passengers were boarding a Frankfurt-bound flight at Delhi.

    Airline staff are advised to take immediate action to clean and fumigate the aircraft on sighting of a rodent.This is done for safety reasons, as rats can mess with cables and wiring inside the aircraft. Staff also keep rat traps (called glue traps) in the aircraft cargo hold whenever a rat is spotted.

    Till a few years earlier, AI used to fumigate aircraft with methyl bromide if a rat was seen but its use has been discontinued, as it is highly toxic. 

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