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Download tells attendees to ground the drones

By | Published on Monday 13 June 2022

Download Festival

Organisers of the Download festival put out a joint statement with local police on Friday reminding people that the event’s base at Donington Park is rather close to East Midlands Airport and therefore flying drones on the site is very much against the law.

The statement followed some drone-related disruption at the airport last week after the festival’s campsites opened on Wednesday, with one or more Download attendees blamed for said drone activity. There was reportedly disruption to night-time cargo flights on Wednesday and Thursday night, and then further disruption on Friday which, among other things, resulted in two passenger flights having to be diverted to Leeds and Manchester respectively.

In the statement, local police and Download bosses 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. 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”, it added. “The police will take appropriate action if necessary”.

The airport’s Managing Director Clare James was somewhat more forthright in her statement, telling the Daily Mail: “It beggars belief that someone would do this. 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”.