Frankfurt Airport closes for an hour after drone is spotted near the runway… adding to flight chaos caused by French air traffic control strike
- Germany’s biggest airline hub was forced into a 48-minute stoppage early today
- Dozens of flights were delayed or cancelled after a drone was sighted nearby
- It come months after the chaos at Gatwick which affected over 100,000 people
Frankfurt Airport was closed for nearly an hour this morning after the runway was shut following a drone sighting.
Germany’s biggest airline hub was forced into a 48-minute stoppage which left dozens of flights delayed or cancelled.
No take-offs or landings were possible between 7.27am and 8.18m local time, the airport police said.
Some passengers were forced to wait on the tarmac while a helicopter circled overhead in the search for the drone, according to German media.
Frankfurt Airport (stock image) was closed for nearly an hour this morning after the runway was closed following a drone sighting
Lufthansa, Germany’s flag-carrying airline, said the ‘safety of our passengers is our highest priority’.
Frankfurt, the fourth-busiest airport in Europe, handles hundreds of Lufthansa flights a day around Europe and the world.
The early-morning chaos piled further misery on European passengers as a French air traffic control strike began today.
UK airline EasyJet has warned they are ‘expecting to experience disruption to our flying programme’ because of the strike.
The drone sighting today was the second at Frankfurt in a matter of weeks after a 29-minute stoppage on March 22.
Flying drones near airports is banned in Germany but German air traffic controllers recorded some 158 examples in 2018.
The dozens of incidents, which rose from 88 the previous year, caused stoppages of a combined 30 hours at major German airports.
In February air traffic controllers and the German military carried out tests on anti-drone technology to address the rising number.
A map from flight tracker FlightRadar24 showed planes sitting on the tarmac at the Frankfurt hub following the drone sighting this morning
It follows the three days of travel chaos at London’s Gatwick Airport just before Christmas.
A number of drone sightings forced Britain’s second-busiest airport to shut down for 33 hours, ruining festive travel plans for more than 100,000 people.
The chaos continued despite a huge police operation and the Army was eventually called to bring the incident under control.
No culprit has been identified, prompting speculation that the drones had been mistaken for police equipment.
Military anti-drone equipment, which can detect the flying machines and disable them by jamming radio signals, remained at the airport until March.
Gatwick and Heathrow are investing millions in their own systems to prevent future flight disruption.