Heathrow Departures Stopped Briefly Due To Drone Sighting

January 8, 2019

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Departing flights at London’s Heathrow Airport were stopped briefly late Tuesday afternoon after reports of drone activity near the site.

Heathrow Departures Stopped Briefly Due To Drone Sighting

“We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety,” the airport said. “As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate.”

London’s Metropolitan Police said they received reports of a drone sighting near the airport just after 17:00 (5pm) and deployed additional officers around the airport.

“As a precaution, departures were stopped at the airport whilst initial enquiries were made. Once it was established it was safe to do so, departures were resumed just after 18:00 (6pm) and the airport is now fully operational,” Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy said.

“Police officers were amongst those who saw the drone and a full criminal investigation has been launched. We are carrying out extensive searches around the Heathrow area to identify any people who may be responsible for the operation of the drone,” Cundy added.

The police service said it is deploying “significant resources” to monitor the airspace around Heathrow, to detect and disrupt any illegal drone activity. Some of the deployed resources come as a result of lessons learned from pre-Christmas incidents at another London airport, Gatwick.

Heathrow Airport said it was continuing to work with police and Air Traffic Control and resumed departures out of Heathrow after a short suspension. “We will continue to monitor this and apologise to anyone that was affected.”

Flight arrivals continued during the incident, using the airport’s second runway.