Heathrow Airport suspends departures after possible drone sighting

 
Alexandra Rogers
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Drone sightings forced the closure of Gatwick airport for days on end (Source: Getty)

Planes have been grounded at Heathrow after the airport confirmed there had been drone sighting just weeks after a similar problem at Gatwick forced the airport to a grinding halt.


A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are currently responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety. As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate. We apologies to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The spokesperson added that there was no indication that flights would need to be cancelled at this stage.

ITV journalist Sarah Rogers tweeted:

Late last month a similar drone scare at Gatwick forced the airport to shut down for days on end, forcing the army to intervene to assist with the crisis.

The runway was forced to close over fears the drones could collide with aircraft and pose a safety hazard.

Following the chaos the government handed police additional powers to help combat the illegal use of drones, including additional powers to land and seize drones, as well as search premises for drones, from 30 November.

Exclusion areas around airports will also be extended from 1km to 5km, with additional extensions around runways, to match the current Air Traffic Zone, and the government will increase the use of technology to detect and repel drones.

Operators of drones weighing between 250g and 20kg will be required to register by law and take an online competency test from 30 November.

The announcements follow a consultation on the use of drones, which began in July.