Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport was shut down for an hour because of a drone. Image courtesy Mundus Gregorius.

This morning, Germany’s busiest airport, Frankfurt Airport, was shut down due to a drone sighting. All flights were suspended.

The sighting shut down the entire airport, halting all flights for about an hour. According to reports, flights were suspended at 7:27. They resumed about an hour later at 8:18. Officials suspect that the drone sighting caused the cancellation of more than 100 takeoffs and landings.

The airport/drone interruption issue continues

This sadly isn’t the first time that airport operations have been interrupted by drone sightings. There have been numerous other incidents in just the past year. Luckily, none of them caused any damage; they simply delayed flights. However, it does seem to mean that as drones become more accessible and mainstream to the public, these incidences will continue happening at an increasing level. The trend points to a need for more regulation to prevent these interferences from happening.

For instance, UK’s government received immediate criticism for a drone incident that shut down its second largest airport, Gatwick Airport, last year. Critics say the government failed to see the warning signs about the misuse of drones and were vastly unprepared legislatively. The government had a planned drone bill after the incident, but it has been delayed for a while. After the incident, the UK quickly passed an expansion of drone no-fly zones around their airports. It increased the zone from 1 km to 5 km. Plus, the UK said police will be getting new powers to regulate drone misuse.

German probably needs new drone regulations

Germany’s current no-fly zone laws, implemented in 2017, prevent drones from flying 1.5 km near an airport. Also, drones are banned from flying in controlled airspace.

But, according to local reports, drone sightings near German airports have been on the rise. Germany’s Air Traffic Control registered 125 drone sightings last year. 31 one of those were sightings around Frankfurt. Like the UK’s original 1 km no-fly zones, it seems Germany’s 1.5 km need to be amended.

The one positive we can take from these drone sightings is it’s showing the world’s governments that drone usage is increasing and better regulation is needed.

Image courtesy Mundus Gregorius

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