According to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, Dublin Airport will not have counter-drone technology for several weeks. Ryan said that various equipment providers are being assessed for their effectiveness before the right equipment is selected. His department is working with airport and aviation authorities to prevent drone-related disruption in the meantime.
Yesterday, three flights were diverted, and operations were suspended for half an hour due to drone activity. Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, called on Ryan to authorize Dublin Airport to disable drones with specific technology immediately. The airlines affected by the diversions called for more action from aviation authorities, branding the latest disruption unacceptable.
Mr. Ryan dismissed Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary’s suggestion that the Dublin Airport Authority only needs government approval to implement the necessary technology to address the airport’s capacity issues. Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s News at One, Mr. Ryan emphasized that the situation is more complex than what Mr. O’Leary proposed, as the airport would also require appropriate equipment to tackle the issue. Mr. Ryan further noted that they want to ensure they get everything right. Although he plans to bring a memo to Cabinet on Tuesday, it would take several weeks to procure the necessary equipment, according to Mr. Ryan.
Mr. Ryan cautioned that any actions taken should not adversely impact aviation and that purchasing the necessary equipment would be the first step once Cabinet approves. He mentioned that multiple suppliers were under consideration and that the government wants to ensure that Dublin Airport has access to the most advanced anti-drone technology available.
Concerns regarding a rumored visit from President Biden
Earlier, a media relations manager for Dublin Airport operator DAA, Graeme McQueen, had cautioned that ongoing drone disruptions could impact a possible visit by US President Joe Biden to Ireland. He explained that although drone activity was presently focused on Dublin Airport, it could happen at any airport in the country. He also expressed the need for legislation and mechanisms to counter the threat of drones and emphasized the importance of taking action before significant events such as Mr. Biden’s visit. Mr. McQueen disclosed that DAA had identified potential solutions and had shared them with the government. However, these solutions could not be utilized due to a lack of legislation.
Details from Thursday’s disruption
According to Graeme McQueen, a spokesperson for the airport operator, there was a “confirmed drone sighting” at 6:27 pm Thursday, which prompted the immediate closure of the only operational runway for safety concerns.
Dublin Airport confirmed that flights resumed shortly after 7 pm following the brief interruption. However, three flights had to be diverted due to the “reckless and illegal activity of flying a drone within 5km of Dublin Airport.”
The Dublin Airport Twitter account stated that Dublin Airport has functional drone detection technology, but the government should introduce technology to safely bring down or signal-jam drones and raise the maximum sentences for individuals who fly drones illegally within 5km of Irish airports (Irish Times).
Related Dublin Airport News:
Drone Sightings Continue at Dublin Airport – Flights Diverted
Arrest in Dublin Airport Drone Disruptions
Flights Suspended Again at Dublin Airport
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