Airport disrupted by fans filming Download Festival with drones

Six passenger flights and two cargo flights were rerouted on Friday night after drone sightings

A runway at East Midlands airport was closed and flights diverted this weekend (June 10) due to a fan filming Download Festival with a drone.

The festival is taking place at Donington Park this weekend (June 10-12) just one mile from the airport.

Statements from the airport, Leicestershire Police and the festival say that drones used to film the rock festival led to the delays and one runway being closed.

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“It beggars belief that someone would do this,” the airport’s managing director Clare James said (via Daily Mail).

“It’s a criminal offence, it is very inconvenient for passengers, it costs thousands of pounds for cargo carriers but most of all it is a flight safety risk.

“We have detection equipment here, we are working with police, so my message to whoever is doing this is just stop or face prosecution.”

Crowd at Download Festival
Crowd at Download Festival Pilot 2021. CREDIT: Katja Ogrin/Getty Images

On Friday night (June 10), six passenger flights and two cargo flights were rerouted to airports including Leeds and Manchester. The runway was closed for an hour from 11.15pm.

In a joint statement, local police, airport and festival organisers said: “Recent reports of drone sightings near Donington Park have resulted in some operational disruption at East Midlands Airport during the last 48 hours. This has primarily affected the night-cargo operation but a small number of passenger flights have been diverted to other airports this afternoon.

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“Both the festival organisers and the police have enhanced the number of patrols on site and the surrounding areas.

“The public are reminded that flying a drone in proximity to an operational airport is an offence under the Civil Aviation Act 1982 and is a huge risk to public safety. The police will take appropriate action if necessary.”

Download 2022 is being headlined by KISSIron Maiden and Biffy Clyro. Download bosses spoke to NME recently about major improvements for this year’s event, as well as revealed that all three headliners have already been booked for the 2023 festival.

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