After sighting an unauthorised drone at the vicinity of Changi Airport, a runway was forced to shut intermittently for about 10 hours, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Wednesday (19 June).
“To ensure the safety of aircraft operations and passengers, the operations of one runway were suspended for short periods of time between 11 pm and Jun 18 and 9am on Jun 19,” said CAAS’s statement.
The shutdown caused 37 flights to be affected, and one arrival flight was diverted to Kuala Lumpur as the airport operated with one runway.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) noted that 19 of its flights, mainly on its Southwest Pacific, Southeast Asia, North Asia and Europe routes, were affected by the closure. The delay of arrivals and departures for these flights ranged from between 8 minutes and 33 minutes, SIA revealed.
The airline added that passengers who had to make connecting flights were assisted.
CAAS also mentioned that investigations are ongoing into the breach and other government agencies like the Singapore Armed Forces, Changi Airport Group and Singapore Police Force were involved in the search and locate operations.
It is revealed that the operator of the unmanned aircraft has yet to be identified.
In Singapore, drones are not allowed to fly within 5km of an airport without a permit. They should also not weigh heavier than 7kg.
In CAAS’s statement, it said that it view seriously at errant operations of unmanned aircraft which may deem as a threat to aviation or jeopardy the safety of others, and will not hold back in terms of taking enforcement action.
Those who are found guilty of such an offence could face a jail term of up to 12 months and fine of up to S$20,000.