Since February 2011 in the airfield territory of Riga International Airport a bird radar is operating that currently is the only one of its kind in the civil aviation airports of Europe.
The radar detecting the flying birds indicates the spots in which the birds are active, their flight direction and the level of risk in the specific sector or height (depending on the birds’ weight, location and flight direction). It produces visual and audio alarm signals and automatically sends daily reports to the specified e-mail addresses. The data are processed and stored on a server.
In the future the airport intends to send the data obtained from the bird radar in the format of warning codes to the air traffic control operator a/s “Latvijas gaisa satiksme” that will promptly forward the warning information to the aircraft pilots. There are also cooperation plans with the Latvian Ornithologists Society in the matters of bird migration monitoring that would contribute also to the development plans of Riga Port.
It should be noted that the costs of the radar system acquired by Riga International Airport amounted to 578 thousand euros.
The radar system MERLIN™ is manufactured in the USA specifically for detection of birds. The system provides the real-time information; it can send warning signals to the air traffic control service, produces reports and works under all weather conditions, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.