A Canadian passenger plane landed safely after it was hit by a drone in the first case of its kind in the country, a cabinet minister said on Sunday. Although no injuries were reported, officials raised concern about the growing number of drones in the air and potential collisions with passenger aircraft.
Canada's transport minster has told drone operators to stay away from airports after a remotely-piloted craft bonked a passenger plane during its final approach to Jean Lesage International Airport in Québec City.
"It is important to point out aircrafts are particularly vulnerable when they are coming in [for landing] ... and during take-off", he added.
"This should not have happened", said Minister of Transport Marc Garneau on Sunday, as quoted by CTV News.
Thursday's collision reportedly happened about three kilometres from the airport at an altitude of 450 metres.
Transport Canada says they are in contact with Skyjet, the Jean Lesage International Airport, and Nav Canada, and they will cooperate with the Transportation Safety Board and the Quebec Police Service should they decide to investigate the incident.
He said that "it could have been much more serious" and that if the drone had collided with the cockpit or the engine, the incident could have been "catastrophic".
It said 1,596 drone incidents have been reported to Transport Canada in 2017, and 131 of them were deemed aviation safety concerns.
"I would like to remind drone operators that endangering the safety of an aircraft is extremely risky and a serious offence", Garneau added. Operators who put aircraft at risk face steep fines and jail time under Canadian law.
"I would like to remind the public that all drone users are required to abide by the Canadian Aviation Regulations, including the Interim Order Respecting the use of Model Aircraft".
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