Drone again? London Heathrow grounds flights after UAV sighting
Flights were suspended for at least an hour at London's Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, after a suspected "drone sighting" in the area brought departures to a standstill on Tuesday evening.
The incident comes less than a month after suspected drone sightings caused chaos at Gatwick Airport, forcing flights to be cancelled and disrupting travel plans for 140,000 people.
“We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow,” Europe’s busiest airport said in a statement. “As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate. We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Last departures from Heathrow appear to have been about 17:15UTC. https://t.co/2FYZ4BFPqJ#HeathrowDronepic.twitter.com/VqI8SorhYq— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 8, 2019
North runway at #London@HeathrowAirport closed - and no departures - after a drone sighting. This is the situation now according to @eurocontrol | #Heathrow#flightdelaypic.twitter.com/OV30nXI0iW— Leonard Berberi (@leonard_berberi) January 8, 2019
Heathrow and Gatwick reportedly spent millions of pounds on “military-grade anti-drone equipment” after the previous drone sighting scandal, which is still being investigated. The December incidents prompted public uproar when it was revealed that some of the drone sightings in the area could actually have been police drones.Also on rt.com UK airports spending millions on military-grade anti-drone tech after Christmas chaos at Gatwick
The latest drone-related chaos has already sparked some eye-rolling on social media.
Gatwick was shut for two days because of s toy a couple of weeks ago. Now heathrow. And people think we'll be fine after brexit— Mike Holmes (@Frolicfoolery) January 8, 2019
#Heathrow Breaking News: Alien craft again interrupts flights at a UK airport. pic.twitter.com/lHJVGT8Uqs— Eva Working CLASS (@EvaSoumble) January 8, 2019
I thought #london airports just invested in anti-drone tech??? #drones#london#heathrow#gatwick— Alex Plowright PhD (@mozvol) January 8, 2019
Responding to possible crisis, British Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he had spoken to the Home Secretary and Defence Secretary and confirmed that the military are "preparing to deploy equipment used at Gatwick should it prove necessary."
The drama was short-lived, however, and flights resumed quickly, with flight-tracking website Flight Radar 24 tweeting that departures had begun again, but adding that there was a "backlog waiting to depart" the airport.
Some of the backlog waiting to depart London-Heathrow. https://t.co/koCjSkPgzEpic.twitter.com/eUYOk9o5IN— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 8, 2019
Conspiracy theory: The drone operator is Chris Grayling, and he's stress testing UK airports to see how they cope in the event of no deal flight disruption! 😂#drone— Chris Roberts (@ObsrvntPheasant) January 8, 2019
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