Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Departures suspended at Heathrow after drone sighting

Piloting a drone the rules The current drone rules
Orlando Vargas | 08 January, 2019, 21:29

Britain's busiest airport, Heathrow Airport in London, suspended departures late on Tuesday while police investigated reports of a drone sighting.

Just before 6pm local-time, a spokesman for Heathrow Airport said they had stopped departures as a precautionary measure.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said the airport was working with police to "prevent any threat to operational safety".

"It is crucial that our plans maximise the benefits of expansion across the country, including for the communities closest to us", said Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow's Executive Director for Expansion.

Among those grounded at Heathrow was ITV reporter Sarah Rodgers. "We apologies to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause".

A spokesperson for London's Metropolitan Police said they were called just after 5pm to "reports of a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport".

Heathrow and Gatwick recently also spent millions of pounds on military-grade anti-drone equipment.

Another said: "Stuck onboard a plane in runway at #Heathrow. Like WTAF?!", one wrote.

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York said he is "absolutely certain that there was a drone flying throughout the period that the airport was closed". "Apparently we can't take off due to #drone sighting!"

David Zuelke, who was inside a plane in the runway, wrote: "Sitting on plane on runway at Heathrow Airport".

She added passengers were not told officially what was behind the delay.

This incident comes after operations at Gatwick Airport, about 30 miles southeast of Heathrow, were brought to a screeching halt amid the busy Christmas travel season because of drone sightings there.

She told the BBC: "At the moment, we've been told we're not going anywhere".

Grayling said the disruption at Gatwick between December 19 and 21 was "deliberate, irresponsible and calculated, as well as illegal".

On Monday police was given new powers to deal with drone pilots breaking the law around airports.

The exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a three-mile radius, with extensions from runway ends.

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