Heathrow Airport suspends all departures following drone sighting

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London Heathrow Airport temporarily suspended all departures on Tuesday evening (January 8) following drone sightings near one of the airport’s two runways.

In a statement, a Heathrow Airport spokesperson said the drone was first sighted near runway 27L at approximately 5:05pm local time. The airport said at the time that it was “working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety.” The statement also said that “as a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate.”

According to aviation tracking website FlightRadar24, some flight departures had resumed by 6:20pm. The drone sightings at Heathrow come just weeks after a similar incident at Gatwick, which bought the airport to a standstill for 36 hours during December.

The incident at Heathrow occurred on the same day that Heathrow launched the next phase of public consultation regarding its expansion plans. The Airspace and Future Operations consultation will see the airport engage with local communities to help shape the airport’s plans for its future airspace.

The eight-week consultation is set to run from January 8 to March 4, and will seek feedback on several key topics, including designing future flight paths, how to make better use of the existing two runways, and how to operate the three runways in the future.

This major public consultation follows on from the airport’s first consultation on expansion, which was held from January to March 2018. Heathrow will hold a further consultation in June on its emerging plans for expansion including the new runway and associated physical infrastructure, as well as presenting options to mitigate and manage the effects of the airport’s growth.

Interested in aviation security? Check out the Passenger Terminal Conference, which takes place during Passenger Terminal Expo, March 26-28, London, UK. As part of the conference, Nicholas Best, security risk manager, Heathrow Airport, UK, will deliver a presentation titled, ‘Heathrow’s response to advanced and evolving threats in aviation security’. Click here to register for your delegate badge (rates apply) and to see the full program

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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