London’s Heathrow briefly halts flights due to drone report

The shutdown at Heathrow follows the pre-Christmas shutdown of London’s Gatwick Airport

London’s Heathrow Airport briefly halted departing flights on Tuesday after a reported drone sighting — a development that came just three weeks after multiple reports of drone sightings caused travel chaos at nearby Gatwick Airport.

The suspension of takeoffs from Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, was announced shortly before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, a move the airport said was made as a safety precaution.

London’s Metropolitan Police said it received a report about a drone “in the vicinity of Heathrow airport” at about 5:05 p.m. Police and airport officials were investigating the reported sighting, which was not confirmed.

RELATED: London’s Gatwick Airport resumes flights after 24-hour drone chaos

Flights resumed roughly 90 minutes later.

The airport said that “based on standard operating procedures, working with Air Traffic Control and the Met Police, we have resumed departures out of Heathrow following a short suspension.”

The temporary departure shutdown at Heathrow follows the pre-Christmas shutdown of London’s Gatwick Airport for parts of three consecutive days due to dozens of reported drone sightings. The Gatwick closure stranded or delayed more than 100,000 travellers — the worst-ever drone-related disruption at an international airport.

The person or persons responsible for the Gatwick drones have not been located and no group has claimed responsibility.

British officials used sophisticated military gear to get Gatwick back in operation, and aviation authorities said that equipment could be deployed at other British airports to deter drone intrusions.

A statement by British Transport Secretary Chris Grayling indicated that anti-drone equipment had not yet been put in place at Heathrow.

“I have already spoken to both the Home Secretary and Defence Secretary and the military are preparing to deploy the equipment used at Gatwick at Heathrow quickly, should it prove necessary,” he said.

RELATED: Gatwick flights operating after 2 arrested for using drone

Heathrow Airport is a crossroads for the world, serving 78 million passengers in 2017. It hosts 81 airlines that fly to 204 destinations in 85 countries, and its most popular destination is New York.

Gregory Katz, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii eagles recovering in Ladner care facility

Treatment for the eagles is both costly and time intensive

Blaze consumes dwelling in Masset

The Masset Fire Department received the first call around 8 p.m.

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Most Read