Drone shuts down Taipei Songshan Airport

Authorities to request maximum fine of NT$1.5 million

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A plane on the tarmac at Taipei Songshan Airport, with the Grand Hotel in the background.

A plane on the tarmac at Taipei Songshan Airport, with the Grand Hotel in the background. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Two appearances by a drone shut down Taipei Songshan Airport Friday evening, causing delays and even the diversion of one flight to Taichung, according to the Apple Daily.

By 8 p.m. Friday, the problem had been resolved and flights resumed their normal schedule, but the authorities said they would find the culprit, who could face a fine of up to NT$1.5 million (US$48,500).

A first incident occurred just before 7 p.m., which caused an immediate shutdown of the airport in downtown Taipei City.

Since the unmanned object was not found, officials assumed it had left the area and they allowed services to resume at 7:17 p.m., the Apple Daily reported.

However, at 7:20 p.m. it reappeared on the landing route of planes heading for Songshan. As a result, the airport was shut down, while from 7:29 p.m., only takeoffs were allowed but no landings.

The incidents caused delays for six arrivals and two departures, affecting 589 travelers, reports said. One flight was even diverted from Songshan to Taichung.

Cars had been sent out to track the drone and find the operator. If caught, the authorities said they would ask for the maximum fine of NT$1.5 million.