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Rogue drone shuts down Spain’s largest airport, ground all flights

Rogue drone shuts down Spain’s largest airport, ground all flights

All departing flights were grounded and inbound flights diverted after the unmanned aerial vehicle was spotted in the airspace around Spain’s largest airport.

The airspace around Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas airport was closed after pilots spotted a drone on Monday afternoon. Authorities have warned of delays following the incident.

The drone alert was activated at approximately 12:40 local time. More than two dozen flights were diverted from the Madrid airport to several other parts of Spain. 

Spain’s air navigation service provider, Enaire, said that restrictions were lifted shortly after 2pm local time and flights began operating normally again.

“At 2:20pm (13:30 GMT) Madrid-Barajas airport capacity has been recovered with 51 landings per hour and 100 total flights,” it said on Twitter.

Spain’s Civil Guard launched an investigation into the incident in cooperation with airport authorities and Enaire.

Anyone caught flying drones near Spanish airports is liable for a fine of up to €90,000.

The Bajaras airport is the world’s 11th busiest international airport, so any delays as a result of drone disruption could have far-reaching knock-on effects.