A drone sighting caused all flights to be suspended at Frankfurt Airport for around an hour this morning. The airport is Germany’s busiest by passenger numbers, serving almost 14.8 million passengers in the first three months of this year. In a tweet sent after flights had resumed the airport reported that operations were suspended at 07:27, before the suspension was lifted at 08:15, with flights resuming at 08:18. It added that security authorities were investigating the incident. Drohnensichtung am . Flugbetrieb im Zeitraum von 07:27 bis 08:15 Uhr eingestellt. Aufklärungs- und Fahndungsmaßnahmen der Sicherheitsbehörden wurden umgesetzt. Flugbetrieb seit 08:18 Uhr wieder aufgenommen. Unsere Pressemitteilung folgt. — Bundespolizei Flughafen Frankfurt am Main (@bpol_air_fra) A report in suggests more than 100 takeoffs and landings were cancelled as a result of the disruption caused by the drone sighting. All flights to Frankfurt (FRA) are currently holding or diverting due to drone activity near the airport — International Flight Network (@FlightIntl) It’s the second such incident at the airport after a drone sighting at the end of March also caused flights to be suspended for around half an hour. Drone sightings near airports have been on the increase for years as drones have landed in the market at increasingly affordable prices, as have reports of drone near misses with aircraft. The Frankfurt suspension follows far more major disruption caused by repeat drone sightings at the UK’s second largest airport, Gatwick Airport, — which caused a series of flight shutdowns and travel misery for hundreds of thousands of people right before the holiday period. The UK government came in for trenchant criticism immediately afterwards, with experts saying it had failed to listen and warnings about the risks posed by drone misuse. A planned drone bill has also been long delayed, meaning new legislation to comprehensively regulate drones has slipped. In response to the Gatwick debacle the UK government quickly pushed through an around airports after criticism by aviation experts — beefing up the existing 1km exclusion zone to 5km. It also said to tackle drone misuse. In Germany an amendment to air traffic regulations entered into force in 2017 that prohibits drones being flown within 1.5km of an airport. Drones are also banned from being flown in controlled airspace. However with local press reporting , with the country’s Air Traffic Control registering 125 last year (31 of which were around Frankfurt), the 1.5km limit looks similarly inadequate.
The UK’s Department for Transport has that an expansion of drone ‘no-fly’ zones to 5km around airport runways will come into force on March 13. Anyone caught and convicted of flying a drone inside the restricted zones could face a fine and years in prison. the government said it would tighten restrictions on drones flights around airports, after the existing 1km limit was criticized for being inadequate — saying it believes expanded no-fly zones will help protect airports from drone misuse. The 1km drone exclusion zone around airports, and a 400ft drone flight height restriction rule, only came into force last . But ministers came in for sharp criticism following the when a spate of drone sightings near the UK’s second busiest airport caused a temporary shutdown of the runway and travel disruption for thousands of people right before Christmas. Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, also after further sightings of drones last month. “The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act. We’re now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe,” said transport secretary, Chris Grayling, in a statement today. “We are also working to raise awareness of the rules in place. Anyone flying their drone within the vicinity of an airport should know they are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment.” The government and the Civil Aviation Authority have announced a partnership with online retailer Jessops to help raise public awareness about the new drone rules — and encourage what they dub “responsible drone use” — as part of a national awareness campaign. The government also said work is continuing on a new Drones Bill. Although the planned legislation is already almost a year behind schedule — and is still only slated for introduction “in due course”. The bill will give police officers powers to stop and search people suspected of using drones maliciously above when the drone bill was first floated by the government. It re-announced its intention to beef up police powers to tackle drone misuse following the Gatwick fiasco. The government added today that the Home Office is still reviewing the UK’s approach to countering the malicious use of drones, writing that it will “consider how best to protect the full range of the , drone maker DJI announced upgrades to its geofencing systems across Europe — applying stricter and more detailed restrictions around airports and other sensitive sites after switching its mapping data provider from US based AirMap to UK based Altitude Angel.