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  • News

Drone suspends flights at Dublin Airport

Thursday, 21st February, 2019 11:56am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Drone suspends flights at Dublin Airport

Passengers at Dublin Airport. FILE PHOTO

Drone suspends flights at Dublin Airport

Passengers at Dublin Airport. FILE PHOTO

Flights were suspended at Dublin Airport for half an hour this morning due to the confirmed sighting of a drone.

Airport officials advised passengers to contact their airline's websites for flight updates. Several planes were kept in a holding pattern over the airport waiting for instructions from air traffic controllers during the suspension, which ended almost as suddenly as it had begun.

"Flight operations have now resumed following an earlier drone sighting," a spokesperson said. "We apologise for any inconvenience. The safety and security of passengers is always our key priority."

Later, officials revealed how the incident unfolded.

"A pilot reported a drone sighting to the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), which operates air traffic control at Dublin Airport, at about 11.30am," a spokesperson said.

"Very shortly afterwards, and having contacted other aircraft in the vicinity, the IAA suspended flight operations at Dublin Airport in line with agreed protocols for confirmed drone sightings.

"A 30-minute suspension of flights was implemented by air traffic control at that point, which is the agreed procedure in such cases. As there were no further drone sighting within the 30-minute suspension period, Dublin Airport resumed flight operations shortly after noon."

Gardai and other State agencies were informed of the incident. It is illegal to fly drones within five kilometres of an airport and all drones that weigh more than 1kg must be registered with the IAA.

"The safety and security of airport users is daa’s key priority at all times and staff at Dublin Airport, the IAA, and other agencies continue to remain vigilant in relation to drone activity in the vicinity of the airport," a spokesperson said.

Three flights were diverted due the suspension of flight operations and there were some knock-on delays to other flights.

Flights have prevsiousy been suspended in the UK due to drone activity, but it's the first time an Irish airport has been targeted. On January 8 flights out of London Heathrow were suspended for over an hour.

And between December 19 and 21 more than 140,000 people at London Gatwick had their travel plans disrupted after drones were spotted above the airport.


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