A matter of days after London Gatwick was shut for 36 hours following reports of drones flying above the airport, reported drone sightings have halted departures at Heathrow, London’s busiest airport.
The situation does not appear to be as serious as that which unfolded at Gatwick in late December. We understand that there was only an hour or so during which flights were delayed. It’s thought that around 40 flights were disrupted.
According to a BBC report, the Metropolitan Police received reports of a drone sighting near Heathrow at about 17:05 GMT.
The BBC has reported that the broadcaster’s own cameraman, Martin Roberts, witnessed the drone in flight. He claims he was driving on the M25 – a highway that encircles the capital – and past Heathrow airport at about 17:45 GMT when he saw what he believes was a drone.
“I could see, I’d say around 300 feet up, very bright, stationary flashing red and green lights, over the Harmondsworth area,” he said.
“I could tell it was a drone – these things have got quite distinctive lights – not a helicopter. The lights were very close together. It was a very clear night and the object was stationary, it was turning very, very slightly. I could see it very clearly, I’d say for about four to five minutes.”
Take Drone ‘Sightings’ With A Pinch Of Salt
It’s understandable that there’s heightened awareness around any kind of light in the sky close to London airports. Following a chaotic few days at Gatwick in December, we can expect more incidents like this as the year goes on. Particularly as we don’t appear to be any closer to understanding what actually happened at Gatwick.
Let’s hope this latest incident is a false positive rather than something more sinister.
A spokeswoman for Heathrow Airport said: “We continue to work closely with the Met Police to respond to reports of drones at Heathrow.
“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. We continue to monitor this situation and apologise to any passengers that were affected by this disruption.”