US health inspectors have found rodent droppings “too numerous to count” near a Delta jet’s food and drink storage area.
The droppings and urine were found in inspections between January 26 and February 2 at a Delta hangar at the airline’s Atlanta headquarters, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wrote in a letter to Delta on April 13, Bloomberg reported.
The airline said it took the issue “very seriously” and solved it by “humanely catching the animal”, said Delta spokeswoman Ashley Black.
The plane was cleaned and was back making international flights within days, she said.
The FDA found rodent droppings above the right and left front galleys, where food and drink are stored, and urine traces on six galley ceiling areas, it said.
Health inspectors also warned Delta that more rodent excrement is “likely” to be found until the airline takes steps to prevent future infestation. US federal transport laws require companies to keep food storage areas free from rodents, flies and vermin.
The jet-setting animal was likely to be a roof rat, which leaves up to 50 droppings a day, pest-control company Atlanta Wildlife Solutions president Chad Artimovich said.
With its stores of nuts, pretzels and water, an airplane has “everything a rat needs,” he said.