Flight operations at Delhi airport were suspended for over half-an-hour on Sundy evening after a “drone-like object” was spotted in one of the runways. The “drone-like object” was spotted by an Air Asia pilot about 1909 hours. Many flights were diverted as the operations were suspended for about 40 minutes. The flight operations resumed at 1955 hours after clearance from the Delhi Police.
Sanjay Bhatia, Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, said the pilot who was flying from Goa to Delhi reported having seen the object near Dwarka area adjoining the airport around 7.10 p.m. “In this regard, operations at all the three runways were closed as a precautionary measure. At about 7.55 p.m., the operations at the three runways resumed normally after clearance from Delhi Police,” Bhatia said.
AirAsia India, in a statement, confirmed that the pilots of flight i5 799 spotted unidentified object flying close to aircraft while landing. The statement said that the pilot followed normal procedure, carried out uneventful landing. Upon landing, pilot reported incident to Air Traffic Controller. Pilot informed airline’s Director Flight Opseration & Head of Corporate & Flight Safety and also filed a report with the DGCA.
The airport, which has three runways, is the busiest in the country and handles around 1,200 flight movements everyday. During peak time, the airport handles up to 70 flights per hour.
— Jet Airways (@jetairways) August 20, 2017
While India is yet to release its full rules and regulations for flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, in most countries that have enacted laws, it is illegal to fly within one kilometer of an airport. Across US and even in Dubai, there have been recorded instances of drones bringing airport operations to a standstill.