As Drones Shut Down Another Airport, the UK Fights Back With More Restrictions

Feb 21, 2019

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A drone sighting temporarily shutdown yet another European airport on Thursday — this time in Ireland.

Around noon on Thursday local time, Dublin Airport (DUB) tweeted that all flights would temporarily be suspended after the confirmed sighting of a drone in its airspace.

Flights resumed about an hour later. But it is the latest in a recent trend of drones snarling operations out of airports.

London, for example, is over the drone trend. The United Kingdom is extending the no-fly zone around British airports from one kilometer (0.6 miles) to five kilometers (3.1 miles), effective March 13.

People who pilot drones near airports “are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment,” said Chris Grayling, London’s Department of Transport Secretary.

The ruling comes mere weeks after unauthorized drone activity led London’s two biggest airports to shut down for half an hour in a state of emergency in December 2018, and cancel 1,000 holiday-season flights over three days in a second incident. A similar incident caused a ground stop at Newark Airport (EWR) at the end of January.

In response, London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Gatwick Airport (LGW) have already stated that they will install anti-drone technology in an effort to reduce future incidents.

London officials are also drafting new legislation that would expand police authority to stop and search drone users suspected of malicious intent. British officials stated that UK aircraft reported 125 near-misses with drones in 2018, a 34% increase from 93 instances in 2017.

Featured photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images.

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