Air travel is a booming industry. With the advent of affordable fares it has become the new luxury that the middle and upper middle class can now afford. Another species which is making the most of the affordable air travel is the rodents!! Contrary to popular belief they are making these huge carriers their home. In the recent years there have been numerable incidents of rodent sightings on planes domestic as well as international. So why do these creatures want to be air borne? The primary reason for this is food. Rodents are constantly gnawing creatures they are always searching for new food sources and also shelter in case of cold weather.
There are generally four ways in which rodents enter in an airplane-the airports, jet ways, food carts or food vending companies, and cargo. Also since the carrier is a confined space they have no means of getting out once they are in. Rodents and rats in particular can cause damage of a serious nature. Rats consume and contaminate food, damage containers and packaging, also damage wiring. They also spread parasites and disease to other animals, and in some cases to humans. Once they enter into the aircraft they are hard to detect because of all the nooks and corners that they have to hide in.
Rats have been the cause of great financial losses to various airlines. There have been numerable incidences wherein flights were delayed or even cancelled owing to rodent spotting. An incident was reported on 18th March, 2011 where a plane enroute Paphos was grounded due to presence of a rat in the cockpit. The pilot feared that the rat might chew on some wire thus endangering the safety of all the passengers aboard. The flight was grounded and a thorough inspection was done to rat out the rat before the plane could resume its journey. Many airlines have a safety measure in place where built-in alarm system is present so that any break in the wires would set off a flashing light alert and the plane would be diverted to the nearest airport for landing.
Another incident which came to light was in June, 2011 when five baby rats were found in a Quantas flight which forced an emergency landing. Flight attendants discovered the five rodents in a storage compartment just before the passengers were due to embark on the Brisbane-bound flight at Sydney. Engineers who inspected the aircraft deemed no damage had been done. Rats are proving to be a cause of grief for these airlines in more than one way as reported in AOI. Qantas is facing a lawsuit after one of the airline’s Platinum customers claims rats chewed through the wiring of his Aston Martin which he had sent for valet parking at the airport.
Another incident which came to light in August, 2011 was that of an SAS flight which was grounded at Stockholm as a rat was found mischievously scurrying the flight floor. All the 250 passengers were stranded and they had to rebook a separate flight. Airports resorted to using smoke to force the mouse out of the plane, but were not successful doing the same. These rats pose a safety as well as a health hazard as there have been incidences of rat droppings being discovered on plane. One such incident was recorded on the Delta Airlines flight. FDA investigators say they found “rodent excreta pellets” in some Delta planes. The primary areas of occurrence were in ceiling panels and places of food preparation and storage. The presence of these droppings so near the food storage area was alarming as the chances of a contamination occurring became very high. To comply with FDA regulations, all places where food is prepared, served, or stored including airline cabins must be kept free of flies, rodents, and other vermin.
The conventional methods being used to tackle this new threat are pest control using rodenticides. But these have been largely unsuccessful as cases such as mentioned above have been on the rise over the past few years. A rat once inside a plane can cause a great deal of damage in terms of life and money. A better way would be to devise such a strategy which ensures that the rats don’t gain access to the carrier.Rodrepel offers such a solution as it is non-toxic, aversive rodent repellant. It is available in paint or lacquer formulation which can be applied on the surface to be protected. Moreover it has very low leachability and very low vapor pressure and thus can’t leach out of the application or vaporize.