Frankfurt Drone Sighting Causes Serious Disruption

A drone sighting at Frankfurt Airport this morning is causing serious disruption. The air traffic control authority has stated that aircraft will not be permitted to take off or land until further notice.

Frankfurt Airport, Drone Sighting, Flights Suspended
Airport police are currently searching for the drone and its operator using a helicopter. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Frankfurt Airport is experiencing significant disruption following a drone sighting at around 11:20 CET this morning. As a result, a number of flights have been diverted to alternate airports. However, an airport representative told Simple Flying that while flight operations had been suspended, the airport remains open.

The disruption comes a little over a year after continued drone sightings caused misery at Gatwick Airport. In December 2018, the airport remained closed for around a day due to repeated drone sightings. This raised the seriousness of the issue of drones to the airport community.

Frankfurt Airport, drone sighting, disruption
Signs around the exterior clearly indicate that the area is a No-Drone-Zone. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Flight operations suspended

Typically, around this time of day, there are streams of aircraft lining up to land at Frankfurt Airport. However, this is not the case today. Instead, aircraft are stuck in holding patterns and diverting to alternate airports.

A drone strike can cause significant damage to an aircraft. As a result, until the all-clear is issued, flights are not being permitted to land at or depart from the airport. In fact, FlightRadar24 estimates that so far 70 aircraft have been forced to divert to alternate airports. Current reports suggest that the airport may remain closed until 14:00 at the earliest.

Flights resume

It seems as though the whole drama has come to a close as FlightRadar24 shows that aircraft are once again departing from Frankfurt Airport. However, this has yet to be confirmed by the airport. According to data from FlightRadar24, at the time of writing, 41% of flights from Frankfurt had been canceled. Meanwhile, 28% were delayed.

Previous drone incidents

In December 2018, the world was awoken to the severity of drone sightings at airports. Repeated drone sightings at London Gatwick Airport led to Christmas misery for thousands of passengers. This was due to airport operations being suspended for around a day.

Frankfurt Airport, drone sighting, disruption
In December 2018 police and airport bosses turned to specialist technology to deal with repeated drone sightings at London Gatwick. Photo: Getty Images

At the time, the drone incident was thought to be malicious as the drone appeared to be popping up every time the airport tried to reopen. However, a culprit was never found. It is unclear whether there were any bad intentions behind today’s incident, however, following the expected investigation we may find out more.

Were you affected by today’s drone disruption at Frankfurt Airport? What do you make of the incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!