London’s Heathrow airport, the busiest aviation hub of Europe, on Tuesday suspended all departing flights for a brief period following reports of a drone sighting, just three weeks after a similar incident at Gatwick airport led to the grounding of about 1,000 flights.
The flights were suspended at around 1705 GMT. After about an hour, the flights resumed.
The Metropolitan police said at approximately 1705 GMT, it “received reports of a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of Heathrow airport” and as a precautionary measure, the airport stopped all departures.
Arriving planes, however, continued to land at the airport.
Around 81 airlines serving 204 destinations operate out of Heathrow, located west of London.
At 1835 GMT, flights at the airport, which handles 213,668 passengers a day, resumed following the interruption.
A Heathrow spokesperson said the airport staff were continuing to monitor the situation.
“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 the situation and apologise to any passengers that were affected by this disruption,” the spokesperson said
Between December 19 and December 21 last year, nearly 140,000 people were affected after Gatwick airport, UK’s second biggest hub, suspended its flights following drone sightings which occurred over a three-day period in the run-up to Christmas.
The armed forces had to be called in to deal with the situation at the Gatwick airport.
The latest incident came few days after both the airports reportedly invested significant amount of money in military-grade anti-drone technology.