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Airport flights resume after thousands of birds land on runway

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    Asheville (WLOS) — The Asheville Regional Airport was shut down for several hours Friday morning due to an extremely large flock of birds.

Officials say flights are again operational after the runway was closed for several hours Friday morning, due to thousands of starlings.

Several flights were delayed, some for more than six hours.

On Twitter, the airport had said that operations workers were working “diligently” to disperse the flocks, and passengers should stay in touch with their airline for changes to flight schedules, as some flights were delayed.

Some passengers chose to take shuttles to the Charlotte airport instead of waiting for the issue to clear up.

We spoke to a passenger who was supposed leave early Friday morning. Alexis Conyers said her flight was scheduled to take off at 7 a.m., and was delayed for a mechanical issue, before the birds forced forced the plane to return to the terminal.

“There were thousands of birds, and they were doing everything they could,” she said. “There were fire trucks going by and trying to spray them. Apparently they were like using loud noises and everything that they possibly could, and nothing was helping.”

Airport officials say the methods they typically use to scare the birds away were not working Friday morning, but eventually they were successful. They also say the presence of this many birds is highly unusual.

Crews fired the airport’s air cannons, and will remain on site throughout the day to ensure the birds do not cause additional issues.

Just last month, News 13 spoke with an airport spokesperson about the part of their wildlife management program designed to scare away birds, which includes two new air cannons and other nose-making devices, like sirens.

The tools are intended to scare birds away from the airfield with noise, without harming them.

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