Bird Directive at Airports



Collisions with birds and other animals are one of the major flight safety hazards for aircraft, crew and passengers. These aircraft – wildlife collisions may result in damage and even crashes, jeopardizing human lives and costing billions of Euros annually. The collisions are always fatal for the animals.

With (EC) Regulation 139 / 2014, aerodromes shall minimise the risk of aircraft – wildlife collisions. The aerodrome wildlife control units deploy 4 wildlife hazard management strategies: 1) create a vegetation to make the aerodrome unattractive for hazardous wildlife, 2) harass hazardous wildlife away from the aerodrome, 3) trap and relocate hazardous wildlife and 4) if no other satisfactory solution is available, eventually kill the hazardous animals.

This is in conflict with the EU Habitat and Bird Directives which aim to protect Europe’s nature; Art. 9 offers a derogation for flight safety. Each EU Member State is responsible to have a process to issue and control the use of the derogation permits following the 4 wildlife hazard management strategies.

With the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 (, the EU aims to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity across Europe, with a special focus on plant and animal species that are in serious decline due to urbanization and agricultural intensification.

Since aerodromes are still hosting a wide variety of wild plant and animal species in all parts of Europe, there is a potential that the aerodromes could, within the limits of aircraft – wildlife strike prevention, contribute to the conservation of the threatened plant and non-hazardous animal species.

Examples of better practices will help aerodromes to apply the most appropriate aircraft – wildlife strike prevention strategies, resulting in:

1) a reduction of the aircraft – wildlife collision hazard;

2) a reduction of the number of individuals affected by derogation permits;

3) an increase of non-hazardous species.


Photography by: © Andries Pen


Number: – Status: Ongoing – Period: 2022 – Topic: Nature protection - Tags:

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