Drones disrupt flight operations at Dublin Airport for second day running

Six flights diverted to other airports on Saturday after two confirmed drone sighting on the airfield

Flight operations at Dublin Airport were suspended again on Saturday for a brief period for safety reasons following confirmed drone sightings on the airfield.

It was the second day in a row in which flights were temporarily suspended due to drone activity.

Six flights which were due to land in Dublin were diverted because of the disruption.

Three flights which were due to land were diverted to Belfast Airport while another three inbound flights had to land in Shannon Airport. The affected flights carried passengers to Dublin from Oporto, Paris and Riga.


Operations were suspended at 2.11pm and resumed at 2.49pm on runway 28R for departures. Normal business resumed on Runway 28L for arrivals at 2.55pm.

In a statement on Saturday on the official Dublin Airport Twitter page, management said: “Flight operations at Dublin Airport were suspended for safety reasons this afternoon following two confirmed drone sightings on the airfield. Operations have now resumed.”

Ryanair has on Saturday called on Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to take action to prevent further drone disruptions at Dublin Airport.

A spokesperson for the airline said it is unacceptable that for two days in a row, passengers and flights to/from Dublin had been disrupted by apparent drone activity.

The spokesperson said: “Yesterday, four Ryanair aircraft and over 700 passengers had their flights diverted to Shannon and Belfast, and again today another four flights and 700 passengers were diverted, with thousands more having their flights delayed.

“Such drone disruptions at Ireland’s main airport are unacceptable. We are calling on Minister Ryan to take urgent action to protect the country’s main airport from repeated disruptions from illegal drone activity.”

The airport had already reiterated that it was illegal to fly drones within 5km of the airport.

The safety and security of airport users was DAA’s “key priority at all times” and staff at the airport, along with the Garda, “remain vigilant in relation to drone activity in the vicinity of the airport”, it added.

On Friday evening, flights at the airport had been suspended temporarily following a previous drone sighting. A spokesperson for DAA said flight operations on-site had been suspended for a “very short period” on Friday after the sighting.

It is understood the drone was spotted shortly before 7pm on Friday. Flight operations were suspended for 10 to 15 minutes.

A Ryanair flight from Gatwick Airport in London diverted to Shannon Airport. It had already been on its approach to land when the incident occurred. Ryanair flights from Alicante and Glasgow also diverted to Shannon.

An Aer Lingus flight from Brussels to Dublin was initially going to divert to Shannon, but did not need to alter course after airport management in Dublin confirmed a resumption in service.

Last month the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) warned that reckless use of a drone or inappropriate use of its camera may result in prosecution.

During the IAA’s Drone Safely this Christmas campaign, Jim Gavin, director of people and operations at the IAA, said drone use had increased significantly in recent years.

“Piloting a drone comes with responsibilities and no matter what their use or purpose, drones can raise challenges from both safety and privacy perspectives,” Mr Gavin said.

“Operating a drone in public requires training, as they can have serious consequences if they are flown inappropriately, or collide with a person, an animal or an aircraft.”

The IAA became one of the first aviation regulators in the world to introduce regulations and mandatory drone registration in December 2015.

Consumers who buy drones that weigh more than 250g, or have drones fitted with cameras, are legally required to register as a drone operator.

Enda Walsh, unmanned aerial vehicle manager/drones champion with the IAA, said the vast majority of drone users fly safely and are compliant with the regulations.

“However, we are concerned that there are many drone owners who are not registered, who may be flying unsafely and putting people and other aircraft at risk,” he said.

“If you see anyone you believe to be flying dangerously or using a drone irresponsibly, we encourage you to contact the IAA. Reckless use of a drone or inappropriate use of its camera may result in prosecution.”