Flight operations were suspended twice on Sunday at the Indira Gandhi International Airport after “drone-like objects” were spotted on the runways.
The country’s busiest airport saw operations getting halted for an hour in the morning and around 45 minutes late in the evening amid security concerns following the spotting of the objects.
Around 11.16 am, a pilot of a China Airline flight (CI 181) coming from Taipei to New Delhi noticed a flying object at the time of landing at runway 28/10, which was shut thereafter for operations from 11.20 am to 12.20 pm, airport security sources said.
Again a “drone-like object” was spotted by an AirAsia pilot around 7.10 pm, following which operations were suspended on all three runways of the airport for about 45 minutes. Flight operations resumed at 7.55 pm after clearance from the Delhi Police.
The airline has also filed a report with aviation regulator DGCA. “We will be registering a case under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code,” DCP (Indira Gandhi International Airport) Sanjay Bhatia said when asked about the two incidents at the airport. Section 188 pertains to disobedience to order that has been duly promulgated by a public servant.
The DGCA has banned the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, which includes drones, for commercial use. Following the shutdown of runways in the evening, two Air India flights were diverted to Lucknow and Ahmedabad while one flight each of GoAir and IndiGo was diverted to Jaipur. An airport spokesperson was not immediately available for comments.
Earlier also there have been incidents of unidentified flying objects being spotted in Delhi airport. The airport, which has three runways, is the busiest in the country and handles around 1,200 flight movements everyday. During peak time, the airport handles up to 70 flights per hour.