Flights were disrupted for half an hour at Dublin Airport on Tuesday following further drone activity in the area.
Just before 9pm, DAA which manages the airport, tweeted that “Due to illegal drone activity in the vicinity of Dublin Airport, all flight operations are currently suspended. Further updates will follow.”
Immediately after the incident, airport management called for the State to consider counter-drone technology to target and down drones that pose a threat to the safety of aircraft and passengers.
It is the latest such incident of the small, remote control aircraft being spotted in the skies surrounding the airport and disrupting aircraft schedules.
Flights resumed after a 30 minute suspension.
The disruption lasted from 8.22pm to 8.52pm. The drone, which could pose a considerable threat to aircraft engines, was first spotted on the north side of the airport campus.
A spokesman for DAA said the incident did not result in any flight diversions from the airport, although some aircraft were forced into so-called go-arounds, where they circle the airspace until it is declared safe to approach.
An unknown number of flights were grounded in the UK, but it remains too early to ascertain any potential knock-on effects to schedules. It was not immediately clear if the drone disappeared or if anyone was apprehended.
In a statement shortly after the incident, DAA management officially confirmed the suspension of fights, citing “safety protocols due to a confirmed drone sighting”.
“An Garda Siochana was immediately advised. There were no flight diversions,” it said, and reminded drone users of the illegality of flying within 5 kilometres of an Irish airport.
“Severe punishments must follow for anyone found guilty and the State must consider counter drone technology for use by the Department of Defence to take down drones that threaten passengers and aircraft activity in such a reckless manner.”
A Ryanair spokesperson said in a statement: “It is unacceptable that more Ryanair flights and hundreds of passengers have again suffered disruptions and delays as Dublin Airport closed for a fifth time in four weeks due to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan’s failure to take any action to prevent drone disruptions at Dublin Airport”.
The statement called on Mr Ryan to explain why other EU airports have “effective drone prevention measures in place but Dublin keeps being disrupted”.
The repeated incidents of drone activity at Dublin Airport are “very concerning”, Aer Lingus said in a statement.
“The Plan for Aviation Safety which contains actions to address the risks of drone infringements, and which has already been published, must now be progressed as a matter of urgency,” the airline said. “The severe disruption imposed on passengers, airlines and other stakeholders is unacceptable and measures to address the drone issue must be now expedited in order to prevent any further recurrence of this type of disruption.”
No arrests were made in relation to the incident.
In a statement, Gardaí at Dublin Airport said they were alerted to a call shortly after 8pm to a confirmed sighting of a drone.
“Gardaí conducted a search of the area and the matter is being fully investigated,” they said. “The regulation of drones is a matter for the Irish Aviation Authority.”