Another drone disturbance at Dublin Airport

The situation at Dublin Airport in Ireland is getting ridiculous – or serious, depending on how you’re looking at it.

For at least the fifth time in recent weeks, flights to the airport have had to be rerouted to nearby landing ports, because there was an alleged drone sighted in the vicinity of the airfield.

Which must be really confusing because there had been an arrest made in connection with the first disturbances, where the airport has had to be temporarily shut down four times between 24 January and 6 February this year.

It is illegal to fly drones within 5km of the airport.

A man in his sixties was arrested and appeared before the courts. A drone was recovered as evidence.

But apparently, the police might have caught the wrong drone, or there is another one out there giving airport authorities sleepless nights again.

Due to confirmed drone activity, flight operations at Dublin Airport have been suspended,” read a short announcement on the airport’s Twitter page.

“Further updates to follow…”

Further updates did follow about an hour later, with, following the resumption of normal service at the airport.

“Flight operations resumed at 18.59 after a confirmed drone sighting suspected operations at 18.27. (Dublin traffic police) was immediately advised.

“Three flights were diverted, discommoding passengers as a result of this reckless and illegal activity of flying a drone within 5km of Dublin Airport.”

Responding to a question on why the airport has not yet installed equipment to stop the drones being a nuisance and inconveniencing people’s lives who need to pass by their airport, the airport said it had effective drone detection technology installed; which helped it in confirming the latest drone sightings.

“However, the State should introduce technology to signal-jam or bring down drones safely and increase the maximum sentences for people who fly drones illegally within 5km of Irish airports,” it said in response.

We are not sure what the law says about airports installing software and hardware that would protect them from malicious drone users, what with airport being really sensitive places to mess with. There are a number of anti-drone technology suppliers that have track records of protecting airports worldwide.

Some of them now offer mobile services where clients do not event have to make installations plans; the supplier just brings the equipment in a mobile unit, which will change places as and when it is required.

For this latest mishap, the airport is reported to have sent out fire fighters to try and look out into the sky to find the drone using the natural laser focus of their eyes

“Drones causing disruptions at airports and events is a state wide issue that needs to be tackled with new legislation, a State agency responsible for managing counter drone technology and harsher sentences,” Dublin airport lamented.

Meanwhile, Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair has placed the blame on the situation at the doorstep of the transport ministry.

“This is the sixth drone closure Rynair has suffered in the last five weeks,” O’Leary said in a video released by the company.

“It’s unacceptable. Three flights have been diverted to Shannon and Belfast this evening while our minister for transport sits on his hands doing nothing. He will be out tomorrow telling people that he’s going to have more meetings – he has had loads of meetings in the last six weeks – meanwhile, Dublin Airport is the most disrupted airport by drones in Europe.

“It’s unacceptable that we have the incompetent minister for transport, who has done nothing for five weeks, to protect Dublin Airport from these drone strikes.

“I want to apologise to our passengers that have been diverted this evening and I would call on them to write to Eamon Ryan to call for him to stop holding meetings and to stop talking about acting and have actual action.

“Minister Ryan, it’s time to stop talking, stop sitting on your hands and do something useful for Irish transport.”


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