Thousands of leaflets urge Dubliners to report illegal drones near Dublin Airport

Aviation specialists fear an unmanned device could hit a plane and endanger lives on those on board. Photo: Mark Condren

Laura Lynott

Residents living near Dublin Airport are being asked to help combat illegal drone use which has grounded flights on several occasions over the past few months.

In joint initiative, the Gardaí, airport operator DAA, and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) have organised a leaflet drop to highlight the issue.

The information leaflets will be delivered to residential, commercial, and retail outlets located around Dublin Airport.

The leaflets highlight the dangers of unauthorised flying of drones within 5km of the airport and urge anyone who sees such actions, to report it to gardai immediately.

Peter Kearney, CEO of the IAA, said the leafleting was part of the ongoing safety campaign carried out by the three organisations to stop the illegal operation of drones within the restricted areas around the airport.

“Unauthorised operation of a drone in this area is reckless and dangerous and potentially puts the lives of passengers and aircraft crews at risk. The illegal use of drones may result in prosecution resulting in a prison sentence,” Mr Kearney said.

Kenny Jacobs, CEO of DAA, added: “We strongly urge drone owners to follow the strict regulations on the operation of drones to avoid any disruption to our passengers and airline partners.

“The drone detection system in place at Dublin Airport, allied with new counter drone technology once deployed, allows us to focus on our top priorities in aviation, namely safety and security.”

Assistant Commissioner Angela Willis, from the Dublin Metropolitan Region said An Garda Síochána was fully committed to supporting partners in the IAA and the DAA in highlighting the significant risk to public safety posed by the unauthorised use of drones in the vicinity of Dublin Airport.

“We ask all drone operators to ensure that they are aware of the relevant regulations and legislation governing the use of drones around Dublin Airport,” Ms Willis said.

“The operation of unauthorised drones within a 5km radius of Dublin Airport is illegal. “Any sightings of unauthorised drones around Dublin Airport should be reported to An Garda Síochána, who will fully investigate all incidents’.

“As crime prevention always includes the cooperation of the public, the three organisations are confident that the local residents will play their part in this campaign to stamp out this reckless activity by reporting any sightings of drones near the airport to An Garda Siochana.”

At the weekend, DAA said it was waiting for the final decision from communications regulators before deploying anti-drone equipment.

Drones have disrupted and delayed thousands of passengers at the airport in recent weeks.

This led to the Government to introduce regulation allowing daa to utilise equipment to bring the drones down or to move them to a safe zone.

On Friday, the DAA confirmed it had bought the equipment and had been training fire service staff at the airport on how to use it.