Heathrow back to normal following drone-related shutdown

London’s Heathrow airport.

Heathrow airport, in conjunction with Air Traffic Control and the Met Police, has launched an investigation following the sighting of drones in the vicinity of the airport yesterday (Tuesday). 

The airport was shut down just after 17h00 as a “precautionary measure” to ensure operational safety, according to a spokesman.

This after the British government announced new legislation around the use of drones, giving police officers the power to land drones, search premises and seize drones. The new regulations also require users to produce the proper documentation.

Minister of Aviation, Liz Sugg, said in a statement on the Department for Transport website that the Home Office would also begin to test and evaluate the safe use of a range of counter-drone technology in the UK.

“This crucial technology will detect drones flying around sensitive sites, including airports and prisons, and develop a range of options to respond to them, helping to prevent a repeat of incidents such as that recently experienced at Gatwick,” she said.

Over 1 000 flights were cancelled at Gatwick airport between 19 and 21 December 2018 following reports of drone sightings close to the runway. The incident caused major travel disruption and was cited as the biggest disruption since ash from an Icelandic volcano shut the airport in 2010. 

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