Brisbane Airport in Australia is currently facing some problems after discovering that wasps are creating their nests on the planes. This is dangerous because they are blocking the probes and instruments which could pose safety risks. This is concerning for Brisbane pest control because the lives of the passengers are at risks because of the pest. Last July, Malaysian Airlines Airbus A330 needed to make an immediate overweight landing because of the nests.
Starting in 2008, four planes have already detoured back to the airport after finding out wasp nests are blocking their sensor probe. Three planes, on the other hand, had to abort their take-off.
Between the period of 2008 to 2018, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said that they have recorded around 15 flight affected by the pest at Brisbane Airport. Before that time period, many incidents have also occurred.
Due to the frequency the wasps are visiting the airport, the airport management decided to conduct a wasp eradication scheme every week. Operators that are using the airport are also advised to use covers to make sure their instrument probes are not disturbed by wasp nests.
Etihad Airways Airbus A330 had to fly back to Brisbane Airport after the sensor was blocked by wasps in November 2013 which prompted an overweight of 18 tonnes. Another concerning incident occurred in July 2018 when Malaysia Airlines forgot to remove the covers placed on three pitot probes to make sure it is not disturbed by wasps.
According to the ATSB, their most pressing problem is with mud-dauber and a number of wasp species visiting Brisbane Airport often. Flight operators have no choice but to cover their pitot probes. It can happen in as fast as 20 minutes while the planes are on standby.
Since Malaysian Airlines only resumed operations in Brisbane Airport in June 2018, they were not used with the pitot probe covers policy which led to miscommunications and misunderstandings. Now the airline is aware of the new policy and has updated their SOP when landing in Brisbane.
Despite the efforts of the airport management to hire Brisbane pest control and employ eradication program, it is impossible to fully eliminate the wasps therefore they have to recommend the use of pitot tube coverings.