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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

COSAR and Kelowna RCMP rescue couple lost at James Lake

The rescue occurred Saturday, July 11

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read