Two recent incidents involving unauthorised drones flying within the vicinity of Changi Airport in the past one week had affected about 60 flights, with some delayed and others diverted. This has raised serious questions over the vulnerability of Changi Airport itself. While CAAS is still investigating the incidents, analysts, the industry and even the drone community itself has concerns on the potential implications of the incidents.
Drone sightings forced one of the two runways at Changi to be closed intermittently between 11pm on June 18 and 9am on June 19, resulting in 37 flights being delayed and one being diverted. Then, on 24 June, drone sightings again, plus bad weather saw 18 flights delayed and seven others diverted as a precaution. CAAS have not revealed how many drones or drone operators were involved or where the drones were spotted.
Analysts indicated that they were surprised by the proximity of the drone activity in the area, and that the operators definitely know that the area there are no fly zones for drones. Experts also opined that there are no effective counter measures for such drone activities, thus exposing Changi’s vulnerability over the restricted airspace.
Questions are now asked whether these people are now brazen enough to challenge the law, and whether Changi will see more such cases of intrusion happen, and whether more flights will be affected when that happens.