Significantly more sightings of drones around German airports

BERLIN, JAN 21 — The German air traffic control (DFS) registered 158 disruptions in air traffic by drones in 2018, an increase of about 80 percent compared with 2017, the DFS announced on Monday.
Although the number of drone sightings had increased significantly, no flights had to be canceled as a consequence, DFS added.

Most of the disruptions occurred at Germany’s largest airport Frankfurt am Main Airport with 31 drone sightings, followed by airports in Berlin, Munich and Hamburg. Back in 2015, only 14 disruptions to German air traffic were reported in total.

Speaking to Xinhua on Monday, a DFS spokesperson emphasized that “drones were invisible” to them as drones are not equipped with “appropriate technology”. As a result, radar detection would not be possible, which is why the data would be based on messages from pilots who transmit the drone sightings to the air traffic controllers via radiotelephony.

Stricter rules for drone operation have been in effect in Germany since October 2017. Drone flights over the take-off and landing areas of airports as well as over crowds of people, hospitals, prisons, industrial plants, national roads or railway systems are prohibited.

In permitted areas, the drone devices must remain within sight during the entire flight and are not allowed to surpass an altitude of 100 meters.
In addition, all drone models weighing more than 0.25 kilograms must have a fireproof sign that identifies the holder, including full name and address.

At the end of December, several drones caused three days of disruptions and flight cancellations at Britain’s second largest airport, Gatwick Airport, affecting around 140,000 passengers.
“An incident like the one in Gatwick has never happened in German airspace before,” noted the spokesperson. – XINHUA