Ryanair and Aer Lingus have both called on the Government to take urgent action against drone activity near Dublin Airport, after more disruption was caused on Thursday evening, resulting in multiple diversions and delays to thousands of passengers.
Dublin Airport has now been closed six times in as many weeks – because of drone interference – and ranks as the only European airport not to have anti-drone measures in place.
Ryanair has gone so far as to call on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to resign if he can’t fix the issue.
In a statement, Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “It’s unacceptable that more Ryanair flights and hundreds of passengers have again suffered disruptions and diversions as Dublin Airport is now closed for a 6th time in 6 weeks by drones. Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has failed to take any effective action to protect Dublin Airport and his strategy of holding “meetings” is useless. As always Minister Ryan promises “stronger measures” but delivers nothing.
“Minister Ryan should explain why other European airports have effective drone measures in place but Dublin Airport keeps being closed, while he is asleep on the job. Sadly, our Transport Minister is all talk and no action when it comes to drone closures. As Transport Minister, he should now fix this issue or resign and let somebody more effective do the job.”
Speaking to RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland programme, this morning, Mr O’Leary went further – saying Dublin Airport needs to have the power to disable drones using specific technology.
“What we need today is not legislation, we need the minister to authorise Dublin Airport to spend the €100,000, buy the electronic equipment which will disable these drones when they are identified and bring them down. We need that done today. We don’t need a memo to Cabinet next Tuesday. What happens if the airport is shut again Saturday or Sunday?,” Mr O’Leary said on RTÉ.
“A step change in urgency is required from the key stakeholders charged with managing this critical issue (Dublin Airport, the regulator and Department of Transport). Processes and technology are urgently required to prevent these events happening in the first place and to minimise the disruption if they do happen,” Aer Lingus said in a statement.