London's Heathrow Airport Has Stopped Departures After Drone Sighting, Echoing Gatwick Chaos

London's Heathrow Airport Has Stopped Departures After Drone Sighting, Echoing Gatwick Chaos

In a repeat of the situation at London’s Gatwick last month, Heathrow airport has ceased departures after sightings of a drone.

Echoing the drama that caused hundreds of thousands to face delays right before Christmas, the airport has closed its northern runway, while at the time of writing, the other remains open.

The airport’s Twitter account posted:

We are 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 apologise to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause.

Scotland Yard said it "received reports of a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of Heathrow airport" at about 5.05pm, and that officers are currently investigating the scenario.

Users took to Twitter to share pictures live from the scene. One claimed there was a police helicopter over the runway.

Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the military was "preparing to deploy the equipment used at Gatwick at Heathrow quickly should it prove necessary".

In response to the initial crisis at Gatwick, Heathrow was said to be testing bazookas in case of copycat incidents.

It follows the announcement that drones will now be required to stay even further away from airports.

Lead image: José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash.

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4 Comments

Michael Jin's picture

Here we go again...

If I call the police and say I’ve seen a bomb, and then there is no bomb, I go to jail. If I do the same for the drone... here we go again.

Simon Patterson's picture

I had the same thought. To create havoc at a major airport, simply report a drone sighting. Actual drone not required.

Maybe all the plane spotters at Heathrow will have more luck snapping some images of this drone. Or maybe there'll be little evidence of the existence of actual drones, as per the recent Gatwick incident.

Daniel Bayer's picture

This also happened yesterday in one of the busiest airports in Brazil. Flights were delayed, operations halted for more than 20 minutes. The drone pilot was not found and probably never will.

Bear in mind that this airport is located in the heart of a really dense city with more than 12 million people:

https://g1.globo.com/sp/sao-paulo/noticia/2019/01/09/presenca-de-drone-n...