Rats on a plane may sound like a low budget follow-up to the 2006 Blockbuster Snakes On A Plane; but according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, it’s a serious problem affecting airplanes in India.
Numerous rat sightings have occurred on Air India planes, and have not only been bad for business; they have also been posing serious health and safety concerns for all on board.
Rats On Planes: Air India
With thousands of Air India flights each day handling large quantities of food for passengers, as well as baggage; rodents and insects sometimes manage to hitch a ride on food catering trucks or luggage trollies to get inside planes. Unfortunately, rats on planes have become a distressingly common problem for Air India.
In August 2014, Air India had multiple rodent scares, which lead to the fumigation of two planes after rats were sighted from passengers and crew. In a recent flight from the eastern Indian city of Ranchi to New Delhi, the cabin crew of an Airbus320 jet reported seeing one or more rats inside the plane.
Rats are known to carry multiple pathogens and diseases, and can even chew through cables and wires that the pilots need to control the aircraft. These rats are definitely hazardous and need to be addressed ASAP!
How Rats Are Getting On Planes
According to top Air India officials, there are multiple ways that rats are entering their planes. Most commonly, they often times hitch a ride on luggage or food-catering trucks. These furry, disease carrying rodents also sneak into planes while they are being cleaned. On rare occasion, passengers have even been known to bring them on; either knowingly or unknowingly.
Rat infestations tend to increase during the June-through-September rainy season. During monsoon season, the rats come out of their hiding places and they go inside buildings; these include the kitchens where food is prepared by airline caterers. The rats then find their way inside planes through food trucks.
Airplane Rodent Control
While all of Air India’s planes are routinely sprayed with insecticide to battle the increasingly growing cockroach and mosquito problems plaguing parts of the country; this does very little to combat the infesting rats.
Pest control professionals in India have recommended that all Air India aircraft go through an eight-hour fumigation process once a month. Additionally, anytime rat sightings, droppings, or nesting behavior are detected, the planes need to be fumigated as well.
These regular fumigations will help ensure there will be no chance of passengers getting surprised by a rat; and that these rodents don’t begin to interfere with a plane’s components. Doing so will also help with the all the bad press the Airline has encountered as of late.
Rats are infamous for their destruction, with their gnawing and nesting behavior. Their success as a pest is mostly due to their small size, their hardiness, their short breeding cycles, and their capability to eat a very wide variety of foods.
Rats are active wherever droppings, fresh gnawing and tracks are noticed. Their nests are made from shredded paper or other material and are often found in sheltered locations. Most rodents have an unpleasant, musky odor that identifies their presence. They are excellent climbers and can scale any rough vertical surface. They will also run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up 13 inches from the floor onto a flat surface. Some rats can even slip through a crack as small as 1/8th inch wide.
Rats may carry a number of pathogens; which can result in the spread of disease. This is something that causes major concern. As such, the first sign of a rodent invasion often prompts an immediate pest control response.