Twelve flights scheduled to land at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on New Year’s Eve were turned around or redirected because an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) reportedly invaded the airport’s airspace.
At about 7 pm on Tuesday, a Cathay Pacific pilot reported seeing a drone flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet near the Taoyuan airport, Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said on Tuesday.
Due to fears that the drone could compromise aviation safety, TIAC decided to suspend landing operations immediately. TIAC reported that an estimated 2,248 passengers were affected by the drone incident.
“We would like to remind people that flying drones or other aircraft around the airport is banned, as doing so could threaten aviation safety,” TIAC said.
On March 31st Taiwan will increase penalties for UAS operators flying drones near airports or in a manner that could be hazardous to flight safety. Violators could be fined between NT$300,000 and NT$1.5 million (US$9,965 and US$49,824).
Drones interfering with manned aircraft was one of the top UAS security concerns of 2019. The trend will likely continue as more drones enter the airspace. Airports worldwide are reporting drone incidents and concerns for aviation safety. Drones flying near airports and passenger planes create significant safety risks for pilots, passengers, and even people on the ground.