Heathrow suspends departures after drone spotted

Andrew Cummings
January 8, 2019

The airport is Europe's busiest hub in terms of passenger numbers. "We apologize to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause".

Heathrow and Gatwick responded by ordering military-grade anti-drone defences worth "several million pounds".

Throughout the emergency, the south runway remained open, allowing planes to land.

One wrote: "So, waiting to taxi on flight to DC, they've just shut the engines off due to a reported drone at Heathrow".

"As a precautionary measure, Heathrow Airport has stopped departures and officers based at Heathrow are now investigating the reports with colleagues from airport".

John Stewart, of the Heathrow noise reduction campaigning group Hacan, said: "Although a third runway will clearly bring many losers, one long-lasting impact of these proposed changes is that a break from aircraft noise would be guaranteed to many more people than who now enjoy it, as Heathrow would make the biggest changes to its flight paths since opening in 1946".

Passengers are taking to social media to report that they are stuck on the tarmac at Heathrow this evening because of the incident.

Planes could come in to land on both runways at the same time during busy periods, Heathrow has proposed, to help maximise its capacity ahead of expansion.

Heathrow Airport has confirmed that it has grounded all departing flights while it investigates the situation.

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

"At the moment, we've been told we're not going anywhere", she said.

The reported sightings follow the pre-Christmas shutdown of London's Gatwick Airport for parts of three consecutive days - also due to reported drone sightings.

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

Under new rules announced earlier on Tuesday, drones will have to stay further away from airports.

The exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a 5km-radius (3.1-miles), with additional extensions from runway ends.

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