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'Unidentified flying object' forces closure of Taiwan Taoyuan Airport

Taoyuan Airport shut down for 40 minutes, over 1,000 passengers affected

'Unidentified flying object' forces closure of Taiwan Taoyuan Airport

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An unidentified object suspected of being a drone flew into restricted airspace over the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Monday (May 22), forcing the airport to shut down for 40 minutes and inconveniencing over a thousand passengers.

China Airlines (CAL) Flight CI152 reported the presence of an "unidentified flying object" over the runway, reported SET News. Taoyuan International Airport Corporation (TIAC) suspended takeoffs and landings for about 40 minutes due to safety concerns, and some flights were delayed as much as 62 minutes, impacting thousands of travelers.

TIAC received a report from the control tower at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning. The pilot of CI152 reported the object was flying about 305 meters over the 05L and 05R runways, but there were no records of drone activity at that time.

TIAC staff confirmed with the Aviation Police Bureau that there were no abnormal activities in the surrounding area, and airport operations resumed at 10:10 a.m.

This incident affected 919 passengers on arriving flights Peach Aviation MM23 and Philippines AirAsia Z2124, as well as outgoing flights AirAsia Flight AK1511, EVA Air BR712, and Starlux JX850. In addition, Cathay Pacific CX488 and XiamenAir MF 887 were diverted to Kaohsiung International Airport, affecting 280 passengers.

TIAC told the public to call (03) 273-2043 if they find someone operating a drone near the airport. Drones intruding into the airport's restricted zone pose a serious threat to flight safety.

Drone owners found guilty may face a fine of between NT$300,000 (US$9,771) and NT$1.5 million for breaching the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法).