Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD and Minister of State at the Department of Transport with responsibility for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Jack Chambers TD, received updates on reported drone sightings at Dublin Airport over the St Brigid’s Day weekend. The Ministers are concerned at the impact on the travelling public of delayed and diverted flights while supporting the relevant state bodies in prioritising safety and security over all other concerns.
The Ministers are convening a meeting this evening at which they will be briefed on recent incidents at Dublin Airport and ongoing efforts to address illegal use of drones in the vicinity of the airport. The Ministers will meet with representatives from Dublin Airport Authority, the Irish Aviation Authority, the Department of Justice and an Garda Síochana. The relevant authorities continue to investigate the incidents.
There are EU and national rules in place around the use of drones, including an exclusion zone of 5km around airports. The misuse of drones is an offence, and flying drones in controlled airspace or within 5km of an airport is a serious matter.
From #Ryanair: Ryanair has repeated its call to Minister Ryan to take immediate action and instead of staying silent confirm what actions are being implemented to prevent further disruptions to passengers due to apparent drone activity at #DublinAirport, Ireland’s largest airport
— Eoghan Corry (@eoghancorry) February 6, 2023
Hundreds of airline passengers have been discommoded after their flights were forced to divert to alternate airports including Shanon because of illegal drone activity in the vicinity of Dublin Airport this evening.
A total of seven 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 with 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 rerouted to Belfast. Flights from Bologna, Bournemouth, London City and Birmingham diverted 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. Three flights diverted to Shannon following that incident.
A similar incident resulting in significant disruption occurred on Saturday.