The CEO, Kenny Jacobs, spoke to RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland this morning after multiple flights were delayed or diverted over the bank holiday weekend due to drone activity.
“There are a number of things that can be done to prevent this. This is not a matter for just Dublin Airport, that’s the first thing I’d like to say. Next weekend, this could happen at Shannon Airport,” Jacobs said.
“It could also happen over the Aviva Stadium while Ireland are playing France and that match could be disrupted because of drones. So I think this is a statewide issue.”
Jacobs highlighted the maximum sentence for such a crime as seven years but called for stronger sentencing.
“In the UK, they’ve increased that to a maximum life sentence for people that are flying drones over an airfield. So I think getting the system in place to take drones down is something that would be good for the State, and increasing the sentencing."
“So that if people are breaking the law, and they are breaking the law if they fly a drone near Dublin airport or any airport, there needs to be draconian sentencing in place.”
Jacobs also said DAA, previously the Dublin Airport Authority, have made recommendations to the government surrounding the handling of drones that fly near airfields.
“Our recommendations on what should be done, I think are two things – first of all, have a system to counter drones.”
Jacobs explained that such a system would involve using technology that overrides the drone by operating at the same radio frequency that the drone is controlled with.
He added: “We need to look at getting these devices as a matter of urgency. Any device to keep our airports clear of drones are urgently needed. We need to ensure that aircraft can take off and land – this is a safety and security issue and the quicker this is solved the better.
“This is an emergency situation and we need to obtain these devices now and make sure that we don’t get bogged down in lengthy procurement procedures. The fact that aircraft are being diverted because of this issue is not just an inconvenience this is costing thousands and thousands of euros every minute."
“There had been a mention that helicopters with netting could be used but the anti-drone devices would be much more efficient and would be small money compare to the delays incurred”.