Singapore – On June 18 and 19, within a ten-hour period, about 37 scheduled flights were delayed due to unauthorised drones flying within the vicinity of Changi Airport.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), there were “confirmed sightings of unauthorised drone flying” in the vicinity of Changi Airport between 11 pm on June 18 and 9 am on June 19.
“To ensure the safety of aircraft operations and passengers, the operations of one runway were suspended for short periods of time,” noted CAAS. The remaining runway continued to operate while the other was suspended.
Response to Media Queries on Unauthorised Drone Operations in the Vicinity of Changi AirportIn response to media…
Due to the incident, about 37 scheduled departure and arrival of flights were delayed.
CAAS added that one arriving flight was diverted to Kuala Lumpur.
The Ministry of Defence posted an update on their Facebook page on June 19 ensuring the public that a multi-agency team was activated to address the situation and locate the drones.
The multi-agency team, comprised of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force, Changi Airport Group and CAAS, is now investigating the incident.
On 19 Jun, the Singapore Armed Forces joined a multi-agency team including personnel from the Civil Aviation Authority…
Operating a drone without a permit is banned in Singapore and flying them within a 5 km radius of airports or military airbases or at an altitude above 200 ft (61m) is prohibited.
“The authorities take a serious view of errant operations of unmanned aircraft which may pose threats to aviation or endanger the personal safety of others,” said CAAS, and added that authorities “will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who contravene regulations.”
Anyone found violating regulations could face a fine not exceeding S$20,000 or imprisonment for a term of up to 12 months, or both, said CAAS.
Meanwhile, netizens expressed their thoughts on the gravity of the punishment for errant drone operators, noting that the fine is not enough to compensate for all the flight delays.
A certain Simon Lee commented that the fine should be S$20,000 multiplied by the total of affected flights.
Ms Adeline Cheo wondered why the authorities couldn’t “shoot on site for such irresponsible acts” that pose as a threat to public safety.
Below is an infographic provided by CAAS on the Do’s and Don’ts of flying an unmanned aircraft system (drone).
“Given Singapore’s busy airspace and densely populated urban environment, the flying of an UA must be carried out in a safe and responsible manner,” noted CAAS.