Drone sends IGIA security into a tizzy

Security personnel at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) had a rough day on Tuesday when they received a call from the Delhi Police regarding an unidentified drone flying in the Narela area of outer Delhi. An anonymous person had called the cops to inform them about the drone.

The police then immediately alerted the IGIA control room, following which all the security agencies at the airport were alerted and the airport’s Anti-Terror Squad was rushed in to maintain a hawk-eye-vigil in and around the area.

After hours of intense probe, it was, however, revealed that the drone belonged to a South Korean company, which was carrying out a survey in outer Delhi areas for the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

Senior officers said the drone sighting did not disrupt any flight operations. It, however, spread panic among the security agencies, including the the Air Traffic Control, and the Security Operations Control Center (SOCC), where all security agencies, including ground handlers, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) officials, and the Airport Operation Control Center (AOCC), manned by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), are present.

Sources told DNA that the Terminal 1D control room received the call from the Delhi Police Headquarter at 11.55am. The cops said they received a call from an unknown number, and got the information that a black drone was flying near the Narela area.

“The message was conveyed to the airport as well as to the other sensitive locations across the Capital. Since such drones have been sighted near the airport before, and the area is considered most sensitive, security precautions were taken and the ATC, AOCC, and SOCC were alerted without any delay,” a senior police officer said.

The anonymous caller was traced through technical surveillance and was identified as a Narela resident. With his help, the drone’s location was ascertained and a police team was rushed to the spot.

“It was found that the drone belonged to a South Korean company, which was using it to carry out a DJB survey related to installation of water ATMs. The agencies concerned were also informed about the matter and the high alert was called off,” a senior official said.

After a similar incident last year, the Operations Cell of Delhi Police had prepared a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) under the directions of the Home Ministry, which allows its personnel to shoot down any suspicious flying objects in the no-fly zone over the airport. These include paragliders, drones, hot-air balloons, and other unidentified flying objects. The police, however, have to consult the air force and National Security Guard (NSG) before taking action.

With the remote-controlled flying devices emerging as a major security threat, the government had revised the Customs Declaration Form last year to include drones in the list of prohibited and dutiable items, from April 2016 onward. A notification regarding this was also issued by the Finance Ministry’s Revenue Department.


  • March 31, 2016: UFO spotted over IGIA’s apron area, disappears before security forces arrive.
  • March 13, 2016: A balloon-like structure spotted close to an operational runway at IGIA.
  • January 27, 2016: An unidentified item spotted in the vicinity of the airport, but could not be traced.
  • October 30, 2015: UFO spotted over runway 27, thrice, before it disappears.
  • October 27, 2015: ATC officials spot suspicious object over runway 29.

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