Why are Ro­dents Rat­tling Air In­dia?

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

As rats are be­ing spot­ted with in­creas­ing fre­quency on Air In­dia Dream­lin­ers, the state-owned car­rier needs to come out with some in­for­ma­tion. First, is there any in­di­ca­tion of the prove­nance of th­ese stow­aways? Whether they are In­dian-born or ne­far­i­ous in­fil­tra­tors from for­eign na­tions could have a bear­ing on their ac­tiv­i­ties on board the ex­pen­sive air­craft. Con­ven­tional wis­dom de­crees that air­craft with ro­dents on board must land as soon as pos­si­ble as the crea­tures nib­ble on-board wiring, com­pro­mis­ing the safety of the air­craft and pas­sen­gers. And, is there any in­di­ca­tion that AI wires are in­deed the at­trac­tion? They could just as well be drawn to the air­line’s rather un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated cui­sine, which is also not im­mune to furry free­loaders.

Most con­cern-wor­thy is the prospect that the rats’ in­ten­tions could be more vil­lain­ous. Hi­jack­ing, of course, is out of the ques­tion, but their sud­den ap­pear­ances mid­way through long-haul flights have led to emer­gency land­ings at the near­est air­ports, which dis­rupt the air­line’s im­prov­ing on­time per­for­mance. AI should look more closely at the in­ci­dents and tail the in­trud­ers to de­ci­pher any pat­terns. Mean­while, putting air-mousers on sus­cep­ti­ble flights — à la the cat em­ployed by the Bri­tish For­eign Of­fice — would be a cost­ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion till a way is found to stop the in­flux.

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