The solution to the illegal drone activity at Dublin Airport is “relatively easy”, said Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary, calling on the transport minister to act immediately.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr O’Leary said this required Dublin Airport to have the power to disable drones with specific technology.
His comments came after his journey was cut short at Dublin airport due to increased drone activity.
Three flights were diverted after the airport suspended operations for half an hour due to drone activity.
Flights were halted from landing or departing between 6:27pm and 6:59pm following confirmed drone sightings.
It is the sixth time since the beginning of January that flights at Dublin Airport have been suspended due to drone activity.
The airlines affected by the diversion have called for more action from aviation authorities, saying the latest disruption was unacceptable.
Mr O’Leary said 20,000 commuters were affected by last night’s disruption, reports RTE.
He accused Minister Ryan of sitting on his hands and said that holding more meetings and preparing memos is not the solution.
He said it’s time for the minister to act or resign.
“What we need today is not legislation, we need the minister to authorise Dublin Airport to spend the €100,000, buy the electronic equipment which will disable these drones when they are identified and bring them down,” Mr O’Leary said, reports RTE.
Mr O’Leary said he understood Dublin Airport had sought permission from the Department for Transport to acquire anti-drone technology, but he could not get permission.
He said there was no reason why Ireland’s main airport shouldn’t have this technology and invited Minister Ryan to outline his action on it over lunch.
Daa, who manages the airport, said Gardaí had been informed of an incident of a drone flying within 5km of the airport, which he described as “reckless and illegal activity”, reports RTE.
Mr Ryan will also take a memorandum to Cabinet on Tuesday on the acquisition of anti-drone technology.
The memo will outline the preferred acquisition option and address the legal and regulatory framework required to make the technology operational.
Separately, Mr O’Leary said the number of unclaimed Ryanair vouchers resulting from the pandemic was “minimal”, reports RTE.
“We think more than 95% of the vouchers have been reclaimed. We have been very aggressive about emailing passengers, those passengers who have vouchers to get them to use them,” he said, reports RTE.
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