'Idiots' Slammed After Flights Again Delayed By Drone At Auckland

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Auckland Airport seems to be becoming a major hotspot for 'foolish' drone hobbyists.

Yet another drone incursion in the airport's airspace caused disruption to several flights.

"Auckland Tower received reports from two aircraft of a drone operating near the Manukau area, approximately 5km from the airport at around 1,200 feet," Airways NZ spokesman Tim Boyle said.

Seven inbound flights were put in a holding pattern, but this time none needed to be diverted.

"Airways NZ is concerned about the increasing drone sightings in controlled airspace," Boyle said, adding that it receives at least one report of illegal drone activity every week.

It sparked an angry response from Civil Aviation Authority deputy director Steve Moore, who said he was 'hopping mad.'

"The idiots who are doing this are putting people's lives at risk and need to be identified before something catastrophic happens. The safety of the travelling public cannot be compromised by thoughtless fools flying drones illegally in the airport zones," Moore said.

Last month Air New Zealand called for tougher penalties including prison terms for illegal drone use near airports after a drone came to within five metres of an Air NZ flight.

That was just one of several incidents at the airport in March. 

Earlier in the month another drone incursion at Auckland caused the delay of 20 flights.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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