February 3, 2020 / 12:43 PM / 19 days ago

Madrid's Barajas airport reopens for traffic after drone sighting

Planes stand on the tarmac of Madrid's Barajas airport, in Madrid, Spain February 3, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID (Reuters) - Madrid’s Adolfo Suarez-Barajas international airport resumed operations after briefly shutting its airspace on Monday due to the presence of a drone in the takeoff area, Spain’s transport ministry said.

Spanish airport operator AENA said 26 flights had to be rerouted away from Barajas after the sightings. A transport ministry source said two pilots had detected a drone flying near the takeoff area alongside the airport.

Enaire, Spain’s air navigation service provider, said it was gradually resuming normal traffic in coordination with police, who were investigating the presence of drones and monitoring for any further sightings.

“At 2:20 p.m. (1330 GMT) Madrid-Barajas airport capacity has been recovered with 51 landings per hour and 100 total flights,” Enaire said in a statement on Twitter.

In one the worst disruptions to air travel from drones in December 2018, reported drone sightings near Britain’s Gatwick airport, the country’s second busiest, caused chaos for hundreds of thousands of Christmas travelers.

Reporting by Belen Carreno, Emma Pinedo and and Clara-Laeila Laudette, editing by Andrei Khalip and Ed Osmond

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