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Airports register 80 incidents due to drones in 2023, although only two affect operations

MADRID, 21 Ene.

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Airports register 80 incidents due to drones in 2023, although only two affect operations


The airports in the AENA network recorded 80 incidents related to drones in 2023, although only two had to activate the protocols because they affected airport operations. In the last five years, just under 2% of the 412 sighting episodes have required the activation of these protocols.

The data appears in a written parliamentary response, consulted by Europa Press, which details that 2019 was the year with the highest number of incidents due to drones, with 132; In 2020 there were 58 episodes, as well as 68 in 2021 and 74 in 2022.

The Executive explains that "only a minimal part" of all the incidents recorded, less than 2%, required the activation of the operational protocols established for these cases. In 2019 and 2020 there was one incidence each year, three in 2021, one in 2022 and two in 2023.

These protocols that affect operation are activated when a second qualified confirmation of the presence of the drone could not be verified or its sighting occurred outside the risk areas determined in said protocols.

Since 2019, in addition, 1,316 incidents due to laser glare have been opened in all airports in the AENA network. Specifically, 298 have occurred in 2019; 127 in 2020; 208 in 2021; 332 in 2022 and 351 in 2023. None of these incidents, all of which occurred from outside the airport premises, affected operations.

AENA has a "uniform action procedure" that establishes that incidents are reported to the competent authority, that is, the General Directorate of the Civil Guard. They are also notified to the National Event System or, if it is considered a serious incident, to the Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission (CIAIAC).

In this way, an operational safety management system has been implemented at all airports to evaluate whether the risks are at a tolerable or acceptable level.

The information appears in a response to EH Bildu that also refers to the particular case of Bilbao Airport. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, there is no record of complaints regarding dazzling of aircraft pilots in the vicinity of the aforementioned airport in the last five years, although this department refers to the data that the Ertzaintza or in judicial headquarters.