SriLankan Airlines: Flight grounded and sprayed with poison at airport after rat spotted on board

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A SriLankan Airlines flight was grounded after a rat was spotted on board

A SriLankan Airlines flight was grounded after a rat was spotted onboard. The animal was found on an Airbus A330 flight from Lahore, Pakistan to the Sri Lankan capital at Bandaranaike International Airport in Sri Lanka. 

It caused lengthy delays and a day-long aircraft search to check for damage and locate the rodent. Rats can pose a serious threat to passenger jets if they chew through critical technical components or wiring.

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The aircraft was sprayed with poison and technicians checked to ensure the rat hadn't damaged any equipment. Ashok Pathirage, SriLankan Airlines chairman told the Ports, Shipping and Aviation Ministry: “We had to spray a chemical to [sic] an aircraft in which rats were found and ground it for one day as per the international standards. Two other aircraft had to be delayed due to technical defects.”

According to local news outlets, the rat was found dead and flights resumed with some rat-related disruption to the regular departures schedule. On Sunday (25 February) a SriLankan Airlines statement on airport operations said: “SriLankan Airlines would like to clarify that the delays experienced by its passengers at the check-in counters in Bandaranaike International Airport during the early hours of this morning were caused by temporary, unplanned operational conditions at the airport and not due to any type of trade union action. SriLankan Airlines would like to apologize to any passengers inconvenienced by these operational delays, while the airline continues to monitor the situation and take steps to avoid a recurrence.”

This is not the first rat-related flight incident. In October, a smuggled albino rat and an otter escaped from a traveller’s hand luggage on a VietJet flight to Taipei, Taiwan. The Telegraph reported that shocked fliers saw staff on board attempt to catch the animals after they were discovered on the three-hour journey.

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