During the weekend, an Airbus A320neo of Vistara got into a ‘beet’ of trouble. A swarm of bees attacked the aircraft and couldn’t be humanely removed. The Kolkata’s International Airport authorities had to deploy a fire truck to get one-on-one with the flying swarm of bugs.
Which airplane was involved
An Airbus A320neo of Vistara was involved in the incident. The aircraft, registration VT-TNC, was built in 2017. According to FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft arrived in Kolkata from Bhubaneswar on Saturday, November 28. The aircraft spent the night at the airport, according to the flight tracker.
The next day, Vistara had VT-TNC scheduled for a flight to Delhi. Before departure, the swarm of bees decided to rest on the right side of the aircraft, near the forward passenger door.
Vistara Air Airbus A320NEO (VT-TNC, built 2017) was held on the ground at Kolkata (VECC), India by a huge swarm of honey bees choosing to rest next to the right forward passenger door. Airport fire service took care of the issue.https://t.co/jg3PJ17Abn
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) November 30, 2020
As it proved impossible to get rid of the bees, the airport authorities called for backup. One of the fire trucks that are at every airport came to aid.
It happened twice
You would think that this event only happened once during the day. But no. According to The Times of India, another Vistara aircraft was surrounded by bees on Monday. This aircraft, another A320neo registration VT-TNR, was leaving Kolkata on a flight to Port Blair.
What they have in common is that both airplanes were parked around the same place, bay 25.
Unlike the first incident, this second bee attack wasn’t recorded and posted on social media. Additionally, no one was hurt. None of the planes had passengers when the bees swarmed them.
After the two incidents, Kolkata’s airport director, Kaushik Bhattacharjee, made a statement. He said,
“On both occasions, fire brigade personnel sprayed water from water cannons on the swarm of bees to drive them away. Following the back to back incidents, a team of officials from Kolkata airport searched the area and sprayed insecticide in the surrounding places. However, even after an extensive search, no beehives were spotted in the zone.”
More cases like these two
Although there’s a video that shows the power of the hive on this occasion, it is not the first time that bees have swarmed a plane. Last year, it happened to another Indian airline, but in the same airport, Kolkata. Air India’s flight 743 from Kolkata to Agartala was delayed by two and a half hours. A swarm of honeybees held tight on one of the flight deck windows. The airport authorities used the same approach at that time: spraying them with water.
Air India plane aborts takeoff in Kolkata after swarm of bees descend on cockpit window pic.twitter.com/ukcTgFplZZ
— Sunder Barange (@sunder_barange) September 15, 2019
In 2017, American Airlines had a similar encounter. A plane of the US carrier was leaving Miami International Airport to New York’s JFK when the crew found a swarm of bees flying on the aircraft’s side.
The airline deplaned the passengers while it figured out how to get rid of the insects. It took four and a half hours and the help of a beekeeper, but the flight eventually took off.
In 2015, an Airbus A319 of Rossiya Airline’s had a similar meeting, with a swarm of angered African bees out of Vnukovo Airport in Moscow.
Have you been in a situation like this? Let us know in the comments.