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Terrorists could use drones to attack planes

Drone incidents can occur anywhere up to 4,000 metres, and an expert warns that a deliberate attack is increasingly likely.

Drones are increasingly likely to be used in a future terrorist attack on an aircraft in Europe, a terrorism expert has warned.

Europe’s commercial airline industry is more and more at risk, Otso Iho, deputy head of Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre at IHS Markit, said, as reported by TTG.

There were about 100 drone-related incidents with aircraft in the UK last year, with 40 classed as serious, he said during a panel discussion at the recent Routes Europe 2018 event in Bilbao.

Such incidents occur anywhere between 400 and 4,000 metres, and Iho argues that it is becoming increasingly likely that a group like Isis will use one in Europe, particularly as they had already started employing the technology in Syria.

The situation has worsened since the defeat of Isis in Syria and Iraq, he added, which has led to many fully trained foreign fighters now returning to Europe, still carrying grievances.

Brussels’ experience
In the same debate, Brussels Airport’s head of aviation marketing Leon Verhallen said that in the aftermath of the attack there in March 2016, the most important thing to do was to keep everyone – from partners to the public – fully informed of the situation.

But with a full police investigation continuing, finding out information was difficult.

“The airport loses control, and contingency planning goes to the local government rather than the airport,” he explained. “[People said] ’can you open the airport’ and you cannot. We didn’t even have access to the airport for three days because of the forensic investigation. You cannot see how bad the damage is to the airport if you can’t get in.”

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