Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Heathrow may add 25,000 flights a year before third runway

Drones have GPS systems fitted which stop them from functioning when they exceed height restrictions Image Drone owners will have to register from November
Russell Knight | 08 January, 2019, 20:48

Heathrow Airport has stopped departures after a drone was spotted.

One wrote: "So, waiting to taxi on flight to DC, they've just shut the engines off due to a reported drone at Heathrow".

Many passengers took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to express disbelief that a suspected drone sighting had once again left them stranded, many stuck on the runway.

The Metropolitan Police have also said: "At approx 17:05hrs today we received reports of a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of Heathrow airport".

A spokesperson from the airport confirmed that a drone was sighted near or within the airport, prompting the precautionary suspension of departure flights.

The incident comes just one day after the Government announced that police and airports will be given new powers to shoot down, catch and jam drones in a bid to prevent a repeat of the chaos that plagued Gatwick over the Christmas period.

Gatwick is the country's second busiest airport, after Heathrow, according to 2017 data from the U.K.'s Civil Aviation Authority.

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Heathrow and Gatwick responded by ordering military-grade anti-drone defences worth "several million pounds".

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

"As a precautionary measure, Heathrow Airport has stopped departures and officers based at Heathrow are now investigating the reports with colleagues from Heathrow Airport", they said.

Britain's parliament finally approved the expansion of Heathrow previous year after decades of delays, although the runway is not expected to be operational until 2026.

Heathrow recently said it was looking at technology to combat the threat of drones.

The exclusion zone around airports is now one kilometre (half a mile) and this will be extended to five kilometres.

Ministers announced that from 30 November operators of drones weighing between 250g and 20kg will be required to register and take an online drone pilot competency test.

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