Heathrow airport: Drone sighting halts departures

Piloting a drone the rules

Departures were temporarily suspended at Heathrow following "reports of drones" at the airport.

It added it first received the reports at about 5:05 p.m. Tuesday.

Officials at London's Heathrow Airport say flights are being allowed to take off again after departures were suspended due to a reported drone sighting.

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

She explained: "Heathrow's aim is to design a sustainable, fair and more efficient future airport while connecting the United Kingdom to global growth".

An extra 25,000 flights a year could come through Heathrow before the third runway is built, in plans revealed by the airport as it launched a fresh consultation over its airspace and operations.

It comes just weeks after drone sightings at Gatwick grounded planes for several days over the Christmas period. Heathrow also confirmed it would be buying systems to guard against drones.

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Heathrow said in a statement: "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".

"Sitting on a plane at #Heathrow".

Emma Gilthorpe, executive director for expansion at Heathrow, said the proposals were crucial in ensuring the airport remained fit for the future.

The British government yesterday expanded drone-free exclusion zones around British airports from their previous 1km limit, to about 5km.

The exclusion zone around airports is now one kilometre (half a mile) and this will be extended to five kilometres.

"At the moment, we've been told we're not going anywhere", she said.

Fines of up to £100 could be given for offences such as failing to comply with a police officer when instructed to land a drone, or not showing their registration to operate a drone.

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