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Gatwick affair Geneva airport ‘not immune’ to drone interference

An aircraft of the Swiss International Air Lines at Geneva airport

Swiss law currently prohibits flying drones closer than five kilometres from an airport.

(© KEYSTONE / SALVATORE DI NOLFI)

While the Swiss air hub says it is “not particularly worried” following the halt of traffic at London’s Gatwick airport last week due to drone interference, it is still vulnerable to such an event.

“We could find ourselves in the same situation as Gatwick and have to close the airspace,” said Madeleine von Holzen, head of Geneva Airport communications, in a statement on Sunday.

“We have followed the events at Gatwick closely, but we are not particularly worried,” she added.

The current law of the Swiss Federal Office of Aviation prohibits flying drones above 150 metres (492 feet) in a five-kilometre radius from any airport. Meanwhile, Gatwick forbids drones to be flown at altitudes above 122 metres within one kilometre.

If a drone is identified in the Swiss prohibited zone, a warning must be sent to the pilot. If the device represents a danger, air traffic could be suspended, von Holzen said, adding that such a decision would be made jointly with Swiss air traffic controller Skyguide.

A working group bringing together Geneva Airport, Skyguide and police has already been created to identify solutions – especially technological ones – to problems associated with drone interference at airports.

Swiss airspace study Drones can be safely guided by mobile phone networks

Switzerland’s existing mobile telephony infrastructure should be able to guarantee the safety of drone flights in the country’s airspace.

This content was published on December 5, 2018 8:41 PM

Keystone-SDA/cl

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