20 arrested for flying drones within 5km of Changi Airport in last 3 months
CAAS also announces moves to enhance its anti-drone capabilities at Changi
Twenty drone operators have been arrested in the last three months for illegally flying their drones within 5km of Changi Airport.
This is out of 44 such cases reported this year, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) yesterday.
It saw eight cases reported before July last year.
Disclosing the figures, the CAAS said measures to counter unmanned aircraft systems are being beefed up, after unauthorised drones twice disrupted airport operations in June last year.
These include putting in place specialised radars to better detect illegal drones.
In July last year, CAAS and Changi Airport Group set up an operations command and control centre to coordinate and integrate all counter operations against drones flown near the Changi aerodrome.
Illegal drones had caused significant disruptions to Changi last June.
The first incident between June 18 and 19 caused delays in 37 flights and affected operations at one of Changi's two runways for short periods.
On June 24, a combination of unauthorised drones and bad weather delayed about 15 departure and three arrival flights, and caused another seven flights to be diverted.
There have been no intrusions leading to flight disruptions at the airport since July last year, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday, noting that the authorities had brought forward plans to enhance anti-drone capabilities at Changi.
"We have developed quite a reasonable capability, but this is a very challenging area and continues to evolve very rapidly because drone technology is moving very fast," he told reporters, adding that existing measures will continue to be improved.
In response to media queries, CAAS said the 20 errant operators were arrested for flying drones without permits within 5km of Changi Airport, at areas such as Pulau Ubin, Changi Coastal Road, Pasir Ris Park, Bedok Reservoir and Tanah Merah.
Ground patrol forces have stepped up to look out for such operators islandwide, focusing on hot spots identified, it added.
"CAAS takes a serious view of errant unmanned aircraft operations, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who contravene the law."
The majority of unmanned aircraft offences involve operating them without the required permits, said CAAS, which is the lead agency overseeing the safe and responsible use of unmanned aircraft in Singapore.
A minority involved non-compliance to registration requirements.