Heathrow Airport says suspending departures after drone sighting

A drone sighting has halted departures at Heathrow

Flight departures have been suspended at London's Heathrow Airport following reports of a drone sighting.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said the airport was working with police to "prevent any threat to operational safety".

'As a precautionary measure, Heathrow Airport has stopped departures and officers based at Heathrow are now investigating the reports with colleagues from Heathrow Airport, ' the force added.

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

It comes after drone sightings resulted in around 1,000 flights being cancelled or diverted at London's Gatwick Airport over three days before Christmas.

The Gatwick closure led to more than 100,000 people being stranded or delayed, making it the worst-ever drone-related disruption at an global airport. No arrivals, no departures due to Drone activity in the area'.

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

"It is crucial that our plans maximise the benefits of expansion across the country, including for the communities closest to us", said Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow's Executive Director for Expansion.

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

The airport is Europe's busiest hub in terms of passenger numbers.

Sky News is reporting that the airport's northern runway has closed after reports of the sighting.

The anti-drone equipment can detect and jam communications between a drone and its operator and was deployed on a roof at Gatwick.

As part of a more regulated approach to drones the Home Office will also begin to test and evaluate the use of counter-drone technology at airports and prisons. Heathrow also confirmed it would be buying systems to guard against drones.

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