Drones near airports

By | Category: Travel rumblings

At Dubai, Frankfurt, Gatwick, Heathrow, Singapore and Newark (New York) airports, there have been incidents with drones. On each occasion, passenger flights have been disrupted. This hasn’t only been when there were the reports of active drones in airport airspace but afterwards as airlines try to catch-up on missed time slots.

Landing at Gatwick. How to prevent future drone attacks must be the key question?

Any passenger knows that an hour long delay has a knock-in effect which may take another couple of hours to resolve. If it lasts a day it takes a few days for a return to normality because planes are out of place, pilots and cabin crew have come to the end of their hours.

The cost of such an interruption can be measured in millions not just in wages, compensation for passengers, fuel bills and additional staffing to cope.

Is it any wonder then that the airline “trade-union” – IATA, the equivalent for the airports – ACI – and the cabin crew and plots unions want action.

Since the lengthy Gatwick incident, there have been copycat attempts at airports around the world.

Currently there are different laws under which people can be prosecuted always supposing people are caught. Nobody connected with the lengthy drone problems at Gatwick have been prosecuted.

No-go areas around airports have been widened and penalties have been increased for those caught flying drones near airports.  

Whilst there are plenty of suggestions on how to dispose of drones infringing airspace it isn’t the average drone enthusiast that passengers need to be concerned about. It is single-minded individual (or individuals) who want to cause disruption.

Installing multi-million pound equipment to safeguard airports might shoot done or capture a drone but what will deter people from using drones near airports in the first place. Obviously not gaol threats or fines because that would have meant that drone threats would have ceased.

Banning ownership of drones and banning prosecuted people from flying for 10 years might be other threats that governments should consider although passengers probably have more drastic measures in the minds!

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