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Aussie drone company shares fly amid Gatwick crisis

The unfolding drama at Gatwick has highlighted some serious threats.

Senior Digital Journalist, Your Money

Shares of an Australian drone ‘detection and counter-measure’ company jumped 28 per cent on Friday after drone sightings closed London’s Gatwick airport for three days last week.

Peter James, chairman of ASX-listed DroneShield told Your Money Live that the company’s technology could have resolved the issue more effectively than Britain’s armed forces.

“We saw reports of police going in trying to do something, it’s all a bit sad. The military defense force is also going out, but with traditional mechanisms, they can’t do anything” he said.

Drones were sighted around the Gatwick airfield dozens of times during the three-day period, forcing the government to bring in military specialists as hundreds of thousands of passengers were left stranded.

With police still hunting for the perpetrators, the unfolding drama highlights the difficulty facing governments as drones and other flying devices become more mainstream.

“It’s Christmas, it’s a busy time of year and if anyone is going to cause unrest or uncertainty what better time to do it?” James said earlier on Trading Day.

“It’s an unfortunate comment but given we’re in the business, we see these kinds of events happening around the world all the time. For example, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, other airports have all been interfered with, sometimes by terrorists, sometimes just by clueless, careless activities.”

A relatively new issue, legislation around drone flying remains a grey area in many countries and cities, made more confusing because each airport has its own set of rules.

“One of the good things that come out of this is it may hasten the legislative process, that’s often the case. But airports are very complex pieces of infrastructure with their own electronic rules and activities so this sort of event is complex to interdict,” he said.

Police said there was no indication of a terrorist motive behind the devices, which first appeared on Wednesday night.

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