The last time an airport in Europe was disrupted following supposed sightings of drones, London Gatwick was locked down for 36 hours, over 1,000 flights were diverted or cancelled, and more than 140,000 passengers had their travel plans ruined.
Today, a similar but fortunately less dramatic scenario has unfolded at the Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport in Madrid, Spain.
Flights to and from the Spanish capital’s international airport were disrupted for over one hour today after Enaire, Spain’s air navigation authority, reported the possible presence of drones in the vicinity.
Airport manager AENA confirmed that 26 flights were diverted to other airports by the time air traffic restrictions were lifted at 14.15 pm.
The Transport Ministry announced the closure of the airspace around the Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport and it’s understood that a security committee has been set up to study the incident. Two airline pilots reportedly spotted drones near the airport.
Enaire warned in a tweet that “A drone is not a toy, it’s an aircraft.”
Adolfo Suárez-Barajas international airport sits to the east of Madrid and handles around 1,200 flights each day, making it one of the busiest in Europe.
In recent hours, an Air Canada flight has had to make an emergency landing at the airport in Madrid after its landing gear was damaged. It’s not thought that the incident is related to the supposed drone disruption earlier in the day.
For now, we’ll wait for confirmation on the drone sighting reports in Madrid. Past incidents have turned out to be bats, balloons and plastic bags – which you can read more about here: 5 Times It Wasn’t A Drone After All.