Skellefteå Airport reports TWO drone incidents to Säpo

Skellefteå Airport has experienced TWO drone incidents this summer, one yesterday and another earlier in the summer. Both incidents were reported to the police and the Swedish Security Service (Säpo). "We did everything we could to find the operator, (of the first incident's drone)" says Jeanette Morén, deputy CEO of the airport.

Incident reported to the Swedish Security Service (Säpo)

Incident reported to the Swedish Security Service (Säpo)

Foto: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Skellefteå2023-08-09 11:08

On Tuesday, a flight was delayed at Skellefteå Airport because of a drone, but it's not the first time a drone has caused trouble for the airport this summer. In June, staff spotted a drone flying over the area.

– Operators are supposed to notify the control tower if they're going to fly in the area, but this operator hadn't done that. It's something they should learn during their drone training, says Jeanette Morén.

What is the worst that could have happened?

– If there was a collision, it could be serious. The same danger that could occur if, for example, a bird were to fly into one of the engines.

Drone was seen by an employee at the airport. Stock image.

No flights were delayed as a result of the incident. The airport staff attempted to determine who was responsible, including door-to-door searches, but to no avail. After a while, the drone disappeared and has not been seen since. It's unclear what the drone was doing at the airport.

– It was probably an accident, or it could have been due to a lack of knowledge on their part, Morén says.

Do you have any advice for those who want to fly drones near the airport?

– It's important to follow the rules that exist and the rules that operators learn during their training. It's also important to contact our control tower before flying in the area.

The airport hasn't heard anything from Säpo or the police after the incident was reported. Regarding Tuesday's drone incident, she says it was due to human error.

– The drone operator informed that they would be flying within the control zone and requested permission to do so. The air traffic controller instructed the operator to call the tower once the drone had landed. The air traffic controller was also given a phone number for this person, Morén says, and continues:

– As the affected flight's departure time approached, they hadn't heard anything from the operator and couldn't reach them either. Therefore, the plane couldn't take off, resulting in a delay of about half an hour.

Incident reported to the Swedish Security Service (Säpo)

Morén says that Tuesday's incident is regrettable.

– It's very unfortunate, but there was nothing else we could have done. The controllers did a great job of trying to make contact with this individual. The tower staff did the right thing, she says.

Will you change your security protocols following these incidents?

–Those working in the tower will need to be even more aware of the rules that apply to drones. Good communication is essential.