Frankfurt Airport closes for an hour following drone sighting

A file photo shows a passenger standing in front of a Frankfurt airport departure board. (Photo: Arne Dedert, AFP/Getty Images)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Officials in Germany say a drone sighting has closed Frankfurt’s busy international airport for an hour.

An airport spokesman said Thursday that a pilot reported seeing a drone and the airport was closed down from about 7:20 a.m. until 8:20 a.m. (0520 GMT until 0620 GMT) while German federal police searched for the drone and its operator with a helicopter. The airport has since reopened.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

This is the second time in less than two months that flights to and from Frankfurt Airport were interrupted by drone activity in the area. 

Operator Fraport said takeoffs and landings were suspended March 22 as a precaution for 29 minutes, news agency dpa reported. They resumed after federal police using a helicopter found no more sign of the drone.

Airport officials initially said two drones were sighted but revised that information.

Around 60 of Friday’s 1,439 scheduled Frankfurt flights were canceled, but that was largely because of an unrelated computer problem at an air traffic control center. The drone caused some extra delays, Fraport said.

The popularity of drones makes them a growing threat to aviation.

More than 100,000 travelers were stranded or delayed right before Christmas last year after drone sightings near London’s Gatwick, Britain’s second-busiest airport, which saw the airport shut for parts of three days.


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