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Frankfurt Airport resumes flights after drone sighting

May 9, 2019

All flights in and out of Germany's busiest airport had been halted on Thursday morning after a drone was spotted. Police said the issue had been resolved, but declined to give further details.

A plane at Frankfurt airport
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F. May

The operator of Frankfurt airport, Fraport, said air traffic had resumed after a drone sighting.

Flights at Germany's busiest hub had been grounded for around an hour on Thursday morning.

Around 70 flights were cancelled due to the drone sighting, an airport spokesperson confirmed to news agency AFP.

Frankfurt police have launched an investigation and are using a helicopter to determine the reason for the disturbance to the airport. 

Frankfurt Airport is Germany's biggest airport and it's busiest passenger hub — serving over 64 million passengers in 2017.

A startup defends against drones

Concerning rise in drone disruptions

Drone sightings have caused similar problems in recent months. In March, Frankfurt Airport was closed for around 30 minutes, while in December London's Gatwick Airport suffered three days of travel chaos due to drone activity.

As drones have become more popular and more easily accessible, they pose a serious problem for airports which are testing new measures to ensure air traffic safety.

Last year, the German air traffic control group DFS saw a massive spike in the number of disruptions due to drones. They logged 158 disruptions in 2018, compared to 88 in 2017. Most of the disruptions hit Frankfurt, followed by Berlin's Tegel Airport.

In Germany, it is illegal to fly drones over airport runways, large gatherings, hospitals, prisons and train tracks. In areas where they are allowed, drones are not permitted to fly higher than 100 meters (328 feet). There are certain exceptions for devices that are flown on special airfields for model airplanes.

rt/rs (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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