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Drone aircraft in the Frankfurt airport airspace

The airport traffic stop for 45 minutes; phenomenon in worrying increase

A spokesman for Fraport, manager of Frankfurt airport, informed that this morning the German airport, the largest in the country and third in Europe, remained closed for about 45 minutes due to the sighting of a drone (UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with remote control, or APR) in flight within the airspace of the airport. The temporary closure involved take-offs and landings of aircraft.

The intrusion (unaware or deliberate that it is, by the "pilot" remotely) of these vehicles in the airport spaces is a worrying phenomenon that seriously threatens the safety of air transport on a global level. Europe is not immune to this phenomenon; far from it: at the Frankfurt Airport the last event dates back to the end of March, when due to a drone the airport was closed to traffic for half an hour. At German airports last year there were 158 such reports, with a worrying 80% increase compared to 2017. But in the last few months the most striking case was the one that occurred at London-Gatwick airport between the end of 2018 and January 2019, when several APR airplanes kept the airport "in check" by flying over the airspace for days without the authorities managing to identify the operators remotely. That seems to have never been identified despite a "reward" of 50,000 pounds to those who contributed to their capture, and the redeployment of the British Army. Then the cancelled connections were over a thousand with obvious damages, and inconvenience to passengers.

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