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Airport disruption after drone sightings near Download Festival



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The Download Festival is being held about one mile (1.6km) from East Midland Airport

Flights at East Midlands Airport have again been disrupted after drones were spotted nearby.

Eight services were diverted on Friday evening and the runway was closed.

In the week, overnight flights faced problems, while two passenger flights were diverted to Leeds and Manchester on Friday afternoon.

The airport, Leicestershire Police and the organisers of the nearby Download Festival said they were closely monitoring the situation.

‘Beggars belief’

The three-day rock and heavy metal festival is taking place until Sunday at Donington Park in Leicestershire, about one mile (1.6km) from the airport.


The airport’s runway was closed for an hour from 23:15 BST and six passenger and two cargo flights were forced to reroute.

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Clare James, the airport’s managing director, said: “It beggars belief that someone would do this.

“It’s a criminal offence, it is very inconvenient for passengers, it costs thousands of pounds for cargo carriers but most of all it is a flight safety risk.

“We have detection equipment here, we are working with police, so my message to whoever is doing this is just stop or face prosecution.”

In a joint statement on Friday, the police, airport and festival team said: “Both the festival organisers and the police have enhanced the number of patrols on site and the surrounding areas.

“The public are reminded that flying a drone in proximity to an operational airport is an offence under the Civil Aviation Act 1982 and is a huge risk to public safety. The police will take appropriate action if necessary.”

As well as a busy passenger airport, East Midlands hosts the UK’s largest dedicated air cargo operation, which handles more than 440,000 tonnes of goods a year.




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