Bad weather, unauthorised drones cause more flight delays and diversions at Changi Airport

Bad weather, unauthorised drones cause more flight delays and diversions at Changi Airport

Bad weather and unauthorised drone activities caused several flight delays and diversions on Monday (Jun 24) night, days after Changi Airport was forced to close one runway due to drone sightings.  

SINGAPORE: Bad weather and unauthorised drone activities caused several flight delays and diversions on Monday (Jun 24) night, days after Changi Airport was forced to close one runway due to drone sightings.  

Replying to CNA's queries, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that approximately 15 departures and three arrivals were delayed, while seven flights were diverted. 

READ: Most drone operators fully aware of restrictions around Changi Airport, say hobbyists

READ: Drone sightings at Changi Airport force closure of one runway, nearly 40 flights affected

Last Wednesday, 38 flights were affected when drones were sighted around the airport. 

"As a precautionary measure, arrival and departure flights were carefully regulated for short periods of time between 8.07pm and 9.07pm," said CAAS in an email. 

One of those affected was Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight SQ963, which was flying from Jakarta to Singapore on Monday night. 

The flight "experienced an extended holding period at Singapore Changi Airport and subsequently diverted to Batam", said an SIA spokesperson. 

SQ963 landed in Batam at around 8.30pm and eventually departed for Singapore at around 11pm after refuelling. 

CAAS said that investigations were ongoing. 

READ: Drone disruptions at airports: How dangerous are they to aircraft?

READ: Eagles, lasers and nets - Options for dealing with rogue drone flights

It also said that it takes a serious view of errant operations of unmanned aircraft which may pose threats to aviation or endanger the personal safety of others, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action.

Offenders could face a fine of up to S$20,000 or a jail term of up to 12 months. 

In Singapore, drones are prohibited from flying within 5km of an airport without a permit.

Law enforcement officers conduct regular surveillance patrols around Changi Airport and respond to sightings of unauthorised drones, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min in Parliament earlier this year.

Drones are increasingly disrupting flights at airports around the world. London's Gatwick was paralysed for 36 hours in December following repeated drone sightings, with tens of thousands of passengers affected.

Source: CNA/ad(rw)

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