Planes collided with 280 birds in 2018 at Salt Lake airport

SALT LAKE CITY — Planes at Salt Lake City International Airport collided with 280 birds last year, including one incident where a flock of birds hit a plane carrying 223 passengers and narrowly missed hitting the engine.

Most of the bird strikes were minor, but in total they caused about $675,000 in damage, said Candace Deavila, airport’s wildlife manager.

The collision that nearly sent birds into a plane engine occurred in November on a Delta flight leaving for Paris, said Bill Wyatt, executive director of the airport. He told the Airport Advisory Board recently that the Boeing 767 plane safely landed a few minutes later and was repaired but that it was a close call, The Salt Lake Tribune reported .

The birds “didn’t go straight into the engine, which is fortunate. Because at that elevation and that location, the potential for recovery is not great,” Wyatt said.

Now, airport officials must decide how to handle a new proposal by the Federal Aviation Administration that would require airports to do everything possible to keep all wildlife 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the airport boundaries. That’s more than double the current requirement of 2 miles (3.2 kilometers).

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