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Droning on about drones

February 27th, 2019

Droning on about drones

The best way to handle a crisis is to stop it happening in the first place.

Last Christmas at the height of the holiday season, the UK’s Gatwick airport was effectively shut down for almost three days. More than 100,000 had their travel plans disrupted because there had been sightings of drones.

This week, the UK government said it was bringing in a new law to prohibit the use of drones near airports. About time, I hear you say.

The new legislation will give police stop and search powers near airports and widen existing no-fly zones around runways to three miles (five kilometres).

Will this stop the drones? Unfortunately, people break laws all the time – have you ever exceeded the speed limit?

Be prepared

The key rule for everyone in any crisis is simple: prepare. The most common type of crisis is one you have had before.

So have there been any drone scares at airports in the past? Tons of them and a number at Gatwick.

Unfortunately, to this day, no one is really sure if there was actually a drone buzzing Santa’s sleigh at Christmas last year. Or was it a figment of the imagination?

Two misfortunate people were arrested and released; the media went into a hysterical overdrive calling them ‘morons’.

There seemed to be a breakdown in communications between the airport, the police, the Ministry of Defence and the aviation authority.

The biggest obstacle to efficient crisis management is internal communications, not just by those are ‘manging’ the crisis, but also by other stakeholders who can have an impact on the outcome.

All of these need to prepare and rehearse carefully. At it simplest it means clearly allocated roles as to ‘who says what to whom’?

We cannot have more disappointed children who have their Christmases spoiled because Santa couldn’t fly his reindeers to deliver their presents because of a drone.


Tom Curtin

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