NEW DELHI: All security agencies were alerted after an unidentified object, possibly a drone, was spotted at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on Sunday. Indian Air Force alerted Delhi police twice 11 am and 7 pm after pilots spotted drones in the airport area. Consequently, all the three runways were shut at the IGI Airport, about 15 flights were diverted and several delayed. Meanwhile, flight operations at Delhi airport were suspended for nearly forty minutes on Sunday evening.
“Initially airport official informed the Delhi Police that a drone spotted at the airport premises at around 11 am, however, during the investigation official could not trace the suspected object (Drone). Moreover, at around 7 PM again, another pilot informed the ATC that he had spotted a drone after the flight operation were temporarily halted,” sources said.
“The pilots of flight (I5 799) from Goa to New Delhi spotted an unidentified object flying close to the aircraft while landing into RWY 11 at Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi. Our pilots followed normal procedure and carried out an uneventful landing,” said Air Asia in a press statement.
Following this, the pilot immediately alerted the Air Traffic Control (ATC). The pilot had informed the ATC that he spotted a drone-like object approximately 3 nautical miles from the runaway.
Initially at 11:16 a pilot of China airlines told ATC that an object has been noticed by him. Immediately cops were informed but they couldn't find anything. Later in the evening another pilot raised alarm.
“On Sunday at about 7:09 pm a flight (I5-799) pilot reported that he had seen a drone like object near IGI Airport. In this regard all three runways operation were closed as a precautionary measure. At about 7:55 pm the operation of all the three runways resumed normally after clearance from Delhi police,” said CISF official on the condition of anonymity.
Two Air India flights diverted to Lucknow and Ahmedabad, and one flight each of GoAir and IndiGo diverted to Jaipur were now returning to Delhi.
According to the Delhi airport official website, flights from Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi have been diverted. Several domestic flights have also been diverted.