Drone Sighting Forces Diversion of Ryanair and Aer Lingus Flights to Belfast
Dublin Airport experienced another drone sighting today, resulting in the diversion of a Ryanair and an Aer Lingus flight to Belfast. Several other flights were also forced to hold their positions temporarily. This incident follows previous drone incursions earlier this year at Dublin Airport, which led to flight diversions and a suspension of operations for up to 40 minutes. The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has highlighted that the closure of a runway can cost airports up to €1m per hour.
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) confirmed the latest drone activity. A spokesperson stated that “flight operations at Dublin Airport were suspended for around 10 minutes just after 12 noon on Friday following the confirmed sighting of a drone in the vicinity of the airfield.” As a result, an Aer Lingus flight from Frankfurt and a Ryanair flight from Birmingham were diverted to Belfast. The spokesperson also mentioned that “a number of other aircraft were required to hold for a very short period.” The public was reminded that flying a drone without permission within 5km of Dublin Airport is illegal.
Earlier this year, a man was arrested and charged with interfering with airport operations after drone activity at Dublin Airport. In response to such incidents, the airport has installed a new operational drone detection system. This anti-drone technology is capable of bringing down a drone or returning it to its original launch location, aiding law enforcement in tracing the operator. However, it is unclear whether the system was engaged during today’s incident.
Dublin Airport has adopted a standard practice of suspending operations for approximately 10 minutes when a drone is sighted. The airport recently reported its busiest day on record in July, with 120,585 passengers passing through on Sunday, July 30th. Despite July being the wettest month on record, DAA Chief Executive Kenny Jacobs noted that many passengers opted to escape the rainy weather and embark on last-minute summer holidays to sunnier destinations. Passenger numbers continued to rise throughout the month at both Dublin and Cork airports.
In conclusion, drone sightings near Dublin Airport continue to pose a significant challenge to flight operations. The DAA’s implementation of an anti-drone detection system aims to enhance airport security and protect against potential disruptions caused by unauthorized drone activity. As the airport continues to experience record-breaking passenger numbers, ensuring the safety and efficiency of operations remains a top priority.