Over 240 flights affected, 10,000 travellers stranded after drones disrupt airport in China

Southwestern China has been affected by at least 10 similar cases since over the past three months

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 May, 2017, 2:23pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 May, 2017, 2:24pm

More than 240 flights were disrupted by drones at an international airport in southwestern China on Friday evening, leaving 10,000 travellers stranded, according to Chinese media reports.

The Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport announced on its microblog account at 9.48pm on Friday that flights had resumed operating after an undisclosed number of drones disrupted airport operations earlier in the evening.

Chinese man held after flying drone close to landing aircraft

But just half an hour later, it posted again that the airport had been affected by drones once more. Order was restored only around 11.30pm, according to the airport.

The drone disruptions forced more than 40 flights to land in neighbouring cities. Over 60 flights were cancelled and another 140 delayed, the airport’s microblog said.

The incident came two days after the local public security authoritiy announced measures to intensify a crackdown against the illegal use of drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

Chinese police armed with anti-drone ‘guns’ to scramble signals and force landings

The municipal Public Security Bureau last week issued a document detailing how it intended to beef up the management of drones. Those who violate the drone rules face fines of up to 100,000 yuan (US$14,500).

The number of cases of drones effecting airport services across China have increased from just four in 2015 to 23 last year, civil aviation administration statistics show.

Drone flights disrupt southwest Chinese airport for third time in recent days

So far this year, the number of such incidents in southwest China alone have already hit 10.

Yunnan’s Kunming Changshui International Airport has been affected by six drone incidents since February, Xinhua reported.