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Drone shuts down Taipei Songshan Airport

Drone operator could face fine of at least NT$300,000

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Taipei Songshan Airport.

Taipei Songshan Airport. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Landings and takeoffs at Taipei Songshan Airport (松山機場) were halted for 48 minutes Friday afternoon after a pilot spotted a drone in the neighborhood, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (民航局) said.

The pilot of a Uni Air flight alerted the tower at 1:43 p.m. that he had seen a drone at about 1 nautical mile from his plane, around the Sanchong District of New Taipei City, just as he was coming in to land at the city airport.

While the CAA was unable to ascertain whether the unmanned aircraft was situated within the 5-kilometer area around the airport banned to such objects, it nevertheless ordered takeoffs and landings to halt as a security precaution.

At 2:31, flights were allowed to continue, with a total of eight flights having been affected by the ban, reports said.

The drone and its handler had not been found yet, but in 25 similar incidents recorded since July 2015, each violator was fined the minimum amount of NT$300,000 (US$9,900), while the maximum legal fine was NT$1.5 million (US$49,780), the CAA said.