New Delhi, Aug. 20 (PTI): Dozens of flights were affected today as aviation operations were suspended twice at the Delhi airport after "drone-like objects" were spotted on its runways.
Indira Gandhi International Airport, the country's busiest, saw the operations getting halted for an hour in the morning and around 45 minutes in the evening, sources said.
Following the shutdown, two Air India flights were diverted to Lucknow and Ahmedabad while one each of GoAir and IndiGo was diverted to Jaipur.
Around 11.15am, a pilot of a China Airline flight coming from Taipei to New Delhi noticed a flying object on runway 28/10 at the time of landing.
The runway was then shut for operations from 11.20am to 20 minutes past noon, airport security sources said. The China Airline could not be immediately contacted for comments.
A "drone-like object" was again spotted around 7.10pm, this time by AirAsia pilots. The operations were suspended on all three runways of the airport for around 45 minutes. The flight operations resumed at 7.55pm after clearance from Delhi police, the sources said.
An AirAsia India spokesperson said the pilots of a flight from Goa to New Delhi spotted the "unidentified object" flying close to the aircraft while landing on runway 11.
"Our pilots followed normal procedure and carried out an uneventful landing. Upon landing, the pilot reported the incident to the air traffic controller," the spokesperson said in a statement.
The airline has filed a report with aviation regulator DGCA.
Delhi police said a case would be filed. "We will be registering a case under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code," DCP (Indira Gandhi International Airport) Sanjay Bhatia said.
Section 188 deals with disobedience to an order promulgated by a public servant. The DGCA has banned the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, which includes drones, for commercial use.