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

Kelowna’s temporary shelter may be open longer

If it doesn’t warm up, the shelter may stay open longer

Silt slide south of Summerland on Highway 97

Traffic was delayed approx. 30 minutes, not related to rock slide north of Summerland

Flair Airlines halts new routes to Florida, California

Budget carrier stops service from Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto to Miami, Tampa Bay and more

Kelowna putting pressure on water purveyors to join its system

City won’t apply for grants for improvement districts unless they agree to amalgamate

Music Rundown: Who you should be watching play live this week

Fill your calendar this week with these great shows

Parole angers parents of Okanagan manslaughter victim

Tal Kalum LaRiviere was arrested in Alberta Feb. 18. He had previously been granted day parole

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

School district facing capacity challenges

Rising enrolment, outdated data and classroom changes prompt discussions

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Letter: Distraught society swayed by distraction

The United States is embroiled in the Trump catastrophe and the United… Continue reading

Seatbelts on school buses would come with safety, cost concerns

Retrofitting belts would cost approximately $240,000 for 24 buses

UPDATE: One in critical condition after crash closes Highway 97 south of Armstrong

Three people are in hospital. The highway remains closed

Most Read