Warning of 'catastrophic consequences' after drones spotted at airport

Flights were suspended after a drone was spotted near Glasgow Airport on September 11.

Police warn of ‘catastrophic consequences’ of flying drones near airports following September 11 incident iStock

A warning has been issued by Police Scotland after drones were spotted flying near Glasgow Airport.

Flights were suspended at the airport on Sunday, September 11, after the drone was seen flying in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow.

It is an offence to fly a drone in the flight restriction zone without permission from the airfield operator and air traffic control.

Police Scotland and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have now warned of the “catastrophic consequences” the remotely piloted aircraft can cause when flown in the proximity of an airport without permission, despite it seeming like a “harmless hobby”.

Inspector David Ferguson, of Police Scotland’s Aviation Security and Safety Unit, said: “There has been a significant growth in the use of drones and Police Scotland works in partnership with the CAA and airport operators to ensure compliant use.

“What may seem like a harmless pastime or hobby could have potentially catastrophic consequences if the drone is flown in a location which poses a threat to aircraft.

“We also actively engage with drone pilots to encourage responsible use of the aircraft and ensure they do not interfere with the operations at airports as well as more rural airfields.

“If you intend to fly a drone you need to fly safely and follow the rules. The CAA sets these out in its Dronecode.”

Jonathan Nicholson from the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: “Drones can be great fun, but people must fly them safely and follow the rules. Breaking the CAA’s Dronecode and failing to fly responsibly could result in criminal prosecution, including imprisonment.

“Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations. The rules for flying drones are designed to keep everybody safe.

“The CAA’s Dronecode provides advice on how to fly your drone safely and follow the rules.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow Airport said: “Operating a drone or unmanned aircraft within the airport’s flight restriction zone is a criminal offence and those convicted of doing so could face up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

“The flight restriction zone extends to a 2.5 nautical mile circle radius from the runway with extensions out with protecting the flightpath for arrival and departures.

“Endangering the crew and passengers of an aircraft is extremely dangerous and could lead to a catastrophic loss of life.

“Members of the public who witness or are aware of anyone operating a drone near our airfield should contact Police Scotland immediately.”

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