Sunday, January 19, 2014

The new aerial menace

I was amazed to read that there is now a new and growing aerial menace.

Are we being threatened, once again by the LTTE's air arm? Hordes of flying cockroaches? Perhaps vampire bats that descend from the heavens to suck the blood of the sleeping townsmen?

No, we are now being threatened by peacocks; not vampire peacocks, or even vampire ducks, just plain peacocks. 

They are a threat not to the population at large, the people in the surrounding areas or to the vast majority of the airline traffic to the country but to the handful of flights that touch down at the Mattala airport.

The authorities are, with admirably straight faces, now calmly proposing a mass cull. The only minor niggle that has apparently prevented the execution of this brainwave has been some religious beliefs surrounding the peacocks.

Lucky for the peacocks, but not so lucky for the multitude of other wildlife being threatened by the airport. The airports authority previously closed up all the waterholes in the vicinity, now they seem to torching the surrounding jungle as well but this has not had the desired effect since the airport happens to be in the middle of the Eastern Bird Migratory Path.

Aha! What we suspected all along! These are not local birds at all, as usual it is the interfering foreign intruders who are the problem.   

In the nine months since the airport opened the only airlines to touch down are the state carrier and one budget carrier. Few people seem to want to fly in that direction voluntarily, except the birds so the simplest solution would be to close down the airport. It will eventually have to close anyway, once the debt laden state carrier goes bust.

The airport itself seems to have cost something in the vicinity of Rs.35bn to build, which, funnily enough, is close to the loss that SriLankan Airlines seems likely to make this year.

In relative terms writing off the cost of the airport is not a huge loss. Besides, keeping it running will only incur further losses so on the principle of not throwing good money after bad it would be sensible to shut it down.

This will never happen, so I will leave my readers with a quote from a different aerial menace, a vampire duck. Its from one of my favourite cartoons: (watch the intro here, its pretty funny)

Castle Duckula, home for many centuries to a dreadful dynasty of vicious vampire ducks: the Counts of Duckula. Legend has it that these foul beings can be destroyed by a stake through the heart or exposure to sunlight. This does not suffice however, for they may be brought back to life by means of a secret rite that can be performed once a century when the moon is in the eighth house of Aquarius. However, the latest reincarnation did not run according to plan – and when tomato sauce was ineptly substituted for blood during his resurrection ceremony, Count Duckula was brought back to life as a vegetarian vampire.

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