Drone sighting leads to flight diversions at Manchester airport

20 April 2015 (Last Updated April 20th, 2015 18:30)

UK's Manchester airport had to divert several flights after a drone sighting close to the flight path.

UK's Manchester airport had to divert several flights after a drone sighting close to the flight path.

A spokesperson from the airport said that the airport had to suspend operations of its runway 1 to allow police to carry out an investigation.

The runway was suspended for around 20 minutes and four inbound flights were diverted to nearby Liverpool and East Midlands airports.

"The matter has now been referred to the police."

The Telegraph quoted a Manchester airport spokesperson as saying: "Due to a report of a potential drone sighting in airspace near to the airport, some flights have experienced short delays and a small number of flights have diverted to alternative airports whilst Greater Manchester Police carried out an investigation using their Police Helicopter. Upon inspection, nothing was found.

"As the safety and security of all of our passengers is paramount, operations on Runway One were suspended for 20 minutes. Runway Two, which was unaffected, will remain open for an hour so normal traffic flows can resume."

Manchester airport general manager for air traffic services was quoted by the BBC as saying: "Flying drones in the close vicinity to any airport without permission is completely unacceptable, with the reported sighting causing delays to inbound and outbound traffic and the diversion of a small number aircraft to other airports.

"The matter has now been referred to the police."

Past few years have seen an increase in incidents related to drones with spike in civilian activity. Last year, a device believed to be a small radio-controlled helicopter drone came within 20 feet of an incoming Airbus A320 passenger plane at Heathrow airport, prompting UK board investigation.

Recently, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) urged for stricter safety standards on the use of drones after a British passenger aircraft almost collided with an unmanned aircraft 1,500 feet above the county of Essex.