For the third time in four days, flights were suspended or diverted due to the report of a drone flying in the vicinity of the Dublin Airport.
The drone reports are based on information from the DAA drone detection system and input from the pilots, ground crew, and air traffic control. DAA, previously the Dublin Airport Authority, owns and operates the Dublin and Cork airports.
Drone Disruptions Over Multiple Days
The drone reports began on Friday, which caused several Ryanair flights to be diverted to Shannon Airport.
On Saturday, six flights scheduled to land at Dublin Airport were diverted following confirmed drone reports on the airfield. A suspension of flight operations lasted about 40 minutes for safety reasons after two drone sightings were confirmed. This is the second day in a row that drones were reported flying around the airport.
Three flights were diverted to Shannon Airport and the other three to Belfast Airport. Passengers were coming from Oporto, Paris, and Riga.
The suspension occurred around 2:11 pm and picked back up at 2:49 pm on departure runway 28R. Operations resumed at 2:55 pm for arrivals on runway 28L.
The Dublin Airport tweeted, “It is illegal to fly drones within 5km of the airport. The safety and security of airport users is DAA’s key priority at all times…”. They reiterate that airport staff and An Garda Síochána, the national police service for Ireland, are observing for drone activity around the airport.
There was another occurrence with a drone at Dublin Airport on Friday night, which is still under investigation.
On Monday, the Dublin Airport diverted flights for the third time in four days due to reports of a drone on the airfield. Four flights were diverted to Belfast, one to Shannon, and one to Manchester after flight operations were suspended for about 40 minutes.
A spokesperson for the airline made the following comments on Saturday, “Yesterday, four Ryanair aircraft and over 700 passengers had their flights diverted to Shannon and Belfast, and again today another four flights and 700 passengers were diverted, with thousands more having their flights delayed… Such drone disruptions at Ireland’s main airport are unacceptable. We are calling on Minister Ryan to take urgent action to protect the country’s main airport from repeated disruptions from illegal drone activity.”
Importance of Drone Education and Safety
The importance of drone safety continues to be reiterated and the need for all drone operators to take precautions and follow the rules set for drones is of the most importance. Kevin Byrne, a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Irish Air Corps, comments that this drone activity must be taken seriously. “Anything that interferes with the operation of aircraft in and around airports must be taken very seriously. The thing about drones is they’re very small and fly very quickly in relative terms. If you can’t see them, they can be a huge hazard to aircraft landing or taking off at an airport, which has enough trouble with weather and wind,” he comments.
The reports of drones in the vicinity of airports are becoming more common. In recent weeks, reports of drones have been reported at multiple airports, including BWI near Baltimore and the Fargo (North Dakota) airport.
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