Drones over Download Festival in Castle Donington close nearby East Midlands Airport

Download festival Credit: PA

East Midlands Airport was closed for half an hour this afternoon, with flights unable to arrive or depart, after drones were spotted in the sky over nearby Download Festival, at Donington Park in nearby Castle Donington.

One passenger on a flight due into East Midlands Airport says the flight was sent to Leeds to refuel, before being sent on its way.

She says she believes 12 flights in total were waiting to land.

In a joint statement from the police, the festival organisers and the airport, they say drone activity has disrupted the airport's activities for the last 48 hours and culminated in the 30 minute closure this afternoon.

"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.

"The safe operation of the EMA aerodrome and the safety of the public at the event are a priority. Together, Leicestershire Police, festival organisers and the airport continue to work closely to monitor the situation.

"As a result, both the festival organisers and the police have enhanced the number of patrols on site and the surrounding areas.


It is illegal to fly drones near to airports because of the risk to the public.

In 2018, 1000 flights were disrupted and 140,000 passengers affected when drones were flown near to Gatwick airport.