Air traffic at Madrid’s Barajas Airport disrupted by drones

On Monday, the presence of drones in the vicinity of Adolfo-Suarez-Barajas in Madrid forced the cancellation of at least seven flights departing from that airport.

The incident was disclosed on the Twitter account of the public firm AENA, which is responsible for the running of 's airports. The account said that the business and the Civil Guard were “working together to reestablish operations.”

“Arrivals have been restricted and for the moment, seven flights have been diverted to other airports,” AENA added.

According to professional drone pilot Alberto Peinado, who spoke with Xinhua about the topic, drones are not permitted to operate within 15 kilometers of the Madrid airport unless they have special permission from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior and AENA, as well as prior communication with the airport's control tower.

It is required to submit a request for permission ten business days in advance of any operation. Those who do not adhere to the regulations are susceptible to penalties ranging from 3,000 to 300,000 euros (3,000 or 300,000 USD) or a jail sentence if it is determined that the drone operator put people's lives at risk.

Over the years, we have seen many drone sightings reported by airplane pilots or crew that turned out to be birds, balloons, and plastic bags. Drones are often mentioned as the culprit, but the evidence is hard to come by at times. Just take a look at the Gatwick drone incident from a few years ago.

You can read more stories about drone incidents on DroneXL.

Photo courtesy of Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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