Drones disrupt flights at Singapore airport for second time in a week

Singapore's Changi International Airport serves more than 100 airlines operating 6,100 weekly flights connecting Singapore to over 220 cities. (Shutterstock)
Updated 25 June 2019

Drones disrupt flights at Singapore airport for second time in a week

SINGAPORE: Unauthorized drone flying caused the second spate of delays and flight diversions in less than a week at Singapore’s Changi airport on Monday night, the city-state’s aviation authority said.
Around 18 departures and arrivals were delayed and seven flights were diverted from the global transit hub due to “bad weather and unauthorized drone activities,” the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement on Tuesday.
The disruption lasted about an hour, it said.
Last week Changi, one of Asia’s busiest hubs, closed one of its runways for short periods due to unauthorized drone flying, disrupting 38 flights.
It is against the law in Singapore to fly a drone within five kilometers (three miles) of an airport without a permit.
Authorities are investigating.
A surge in the availability of drones has become an increasing security concern for airports around the world.
In December, drone sightings caused three days of travel chaos at London’s Gatwick airport, resulting in the cancelation or diversion of about 1,000 flights at an estimated cost of more than 50 million pounds ($64 million).


Greek PM to Erdogan: ‘Let’s give diplomacy a chance’

Updated 25 September 2020

Greek PM to Erdogan: ‘Let’s give diplomacy a chance’

  • Greek PM pointed to the UAE’s recent recognition of Israel as a sign that Greece and Turkey can overcome historic animosity
  • Kyriakos Mitsotakis: I refuse to believe that partnership between near neighbors is not possible

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appealed Friday to Turkey to find a diplomatic solution to tensions, saying he wanted partnership between the historic rivals.
Mitsotakis accused Turkey of “aggression” with its recent search for energy resources in contested waters but said, “I remain an optimist.”
“So let’s meet, let’s talk and let’s seek a mutually acceptable solution. Let’s give diplomacy a chance,” Mitsotakis said to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an address to the virtual UN General Assembly.
“If after all we still cannot agree, then we should trust the wisdom of the International Court at The Hague,” Mitsotakis said, reiterating an offer from Greece.
In a recorded message before the backdrop of the Acropolis, Mitsotakis pointed to the United Arab Emirates’ recent recognition of Israel as a sign that Greece and Turkey can overcome historic animosity.
“I refuse to believe that partnership between near neighbors is not possible,” Mitsotakis said.
Turkey last month sent a vessel backed by military frigates to hunt for oil and gas reserves in waters also claimed by Greece.
Greece responded with naval exercises as a warning and has enjoyed support within the European Union, especially from France.
The tone has recently softened with Greece and Turkey, both NATO members, agreeing Tuesday to begin exploratory talks on their dispute.
In his own address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Erdogan said that Turkey wanted to “settle disputes with sincere dialogue, based on international law and on an equitable basis.”
The easing of tensions comes two days before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit Greece in a strong sign of support.
Pompeo will travel both to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city which has historic Turkish roots, and to the southern island of Crete, where he will meet the conservative premier at his home and visit the NATO base at Souda Bay.
A US official said Pompeo would focus on building relations with Greece but also offer support for diplomacy with Turkey.
“Certainly the ability to deconflict and then have discussions and dialogue is so important between these two NATO allies, Turkey and Greece,” the official told reporters on customary condition of anonymity.
Dialogue “reduces the likelihood of any accidents or incidents, so we continue to encourage Greece and Turkey to move forward on that and ideally be able to complete an agreement.”
But the official said the United States did not recognize the so-called Seville Map drawn up by Spanish scholars that Greece has cited in defending its maritime zone.
Turkey has insisted that the Seville Map not be the basis for any discussions on the Mediterranean.
“We take no position on maritime boundary issues or generally how states should delimit their maritime boundaries,” the US official said.
The United States, however, has recently pushed back sharply against China’s claims in the dispute-rife South China Sea.
President Donald Trump has maintained warm relations with Erdogan, controversially speaking to him before ordering a US withdrawal from Syria.
But Greece in recent years has become an increasingly strategic US ally in part due to its embrace of growing ties with Israel, a major focus for US foreign policy.