Alleged drone sighting temporarily halts flights at Madrid airport

Feb 3, 2020

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Spain’s Madrid International Airport shut down air traffic operations for more than an hour Monday after two pilots reported spotting remote-controlled drones within nearby airspace.

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Spanish air navigation authority Enaire implemented a special procedure to halt landings and takeoffs, diverting a total of 26 flights to other airports, according to the Associated Press.

“A drone is not a toy; it’s an aircraft”, Enaire sternly warned the public via Twitter. The government entity also posted additional warnings and information regarding air traffic safety violations in later tweets.

Spanish authorities have launched an investigation into the incident, which impacted Spain’s busiest airport. Madrid’s airport is one of Europe’s highest-traffic airports, averaging 1,200 flights each day and more than 60 million travellers per year.

Related: Packing a drone for your next trip? Here’s what you need to know.

While many AvGeeks love snapping images of their favourite aircraft, drone photography can be extremely disruptive for air traffic. In 2018, hundreds of travellers were impacted over the Christmas holiday season when dozens of alleged drone sightings disrupted London airspace over three consecutive days. The incidents led to London implementing anti-drone technology to protect against future potential disruptions.

Featured photo by Getty Images.

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