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

Surrey Mounties seize guns, drugs and cash from Guildford residence

One man was arrested but no charges have been laid as investigation continues

Charges laid in 2019 single-vehicle crash in Surrey that killed 19-year-old man

Dilpreet Sandhu, 19, faces eight charges in deadly crash at intersection of 122 Street and 78 Avenue

Go Fund Me campaign for family of CN rail worker who died at Thornton Yard in Surrey

Jasvinder Singh Riar, 31, died while at work at the Canadian National Railway Thornton Yard in North Surrey early Monday morning

In ‘landmark move,’ Surrey Pride party goes online for the event’s 21st anniversary

‘We have the ‘honour’ of being the first large city to put on a virtual Pride Festival’

As thrift store aims to reopen, Surrey Hospice Society struggles to raise funds

‘Right now I think people are suffering grief more than they ever have’

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Sex offender Danny Depew sentenced in Abbotsford to 2.5 more years

Depew still has child-luring charges before the courts in Ontario

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Importance of accurate, ethical reporting more critical than ever

Golden Ears park expected to be busy the first camping weekend of season

Campgrounds expected to be full or close to full

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Abbotsford Airshow launching virtual Aerospace Camp

Online S.T.E.M. open to students aged 10 to 15, starts later this summer

VIDEO: BREAKING: RCMP Emergency Response Team raid known drug house in Chilliwack

Armed officers respond to reports of shots, bring in ERT, K-9 unit and spike belt

Most Read