Hundreds of airline passengers have been discommoded after their flights were forced to divert to alternate airports because of illegal drone activity in the vicinity of Dublin Airport this evening.
At least three flights have diverted to Belfast and Shannon Airports following the latest incident, the third at Dublin Airport in three days involving drones flying illegally near over over the airfield.
This evening at around 7.00pm, air traffic controllers were alerted to a possible drone at Dublin Airport and quickly suspended operations in accordance with procedures to deal confirmed drone sightings at the airport.
Controllers advised all flights on the ground and on approach to the airport of the issue. Aircraft due to depart were grounded while flights scheduled to land at Dublin were placed in holding patterns away from the airport while a search for the drone was carried out.
The crew of TUI Airways flight BY-1171 from Gran Canaria to Dublin opted to divert to Belfast Airport after holding for a time while of Ryanair flight FR-1739 from Valencia, Spain to Dublin also reroute to Belfast.
Ryanair flight FR-1617 from Wroclaw, Poland to Dublin rerouted to Shannon Airport where it was due to refuel before returning to Dublin.
About 40 minutes after the drone was first sighted operations resumed at Dublin Airport.
A spokesperson for the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said: “Flight operations at Dublin Airport were once again suspended this evening for safety reasons after a drone was spotted on the airfield. Following a suspension of around 40 minutes, flight operations restarted around 7.45pm.
“The reckless and irresponsible behaviour of those causing ongoing drone disruptions at Dublin Airport is unacceptable. Those found responsible will face prosecution. While safety and security remain our top priorities such disruptions cause huge inconvenience to our passengers.
Again, we would remind the public that it is illegal to fly drones within 5km of the airport,” the DAA said.
On Friday evening, operations at Dublin were also suspended while a number of flights were forced to divert to Belfast and Shannon Airports following reported drone sightings.
A similar incident resulting in significant disruption occurred on Saturday.