Sunday, 24 March, 2019


London's Heathrow consults public as it eyes thousands more flights

Warley MP John Spellar Warley MP John Spellar
Conrad Doyle | 08 January, 2019, 20:45

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

The force said "officers based at Heathrow are now investigating the reports with colleagues from (the) airport".

Heathrow staff are working with the Metropolitan Police and all flights have been grounded "as a precaution", an airport spokesperson said.

"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. Drones were reportedly spotted at the airport 67 times and authorities detained and released two suspects following investigations.

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

This latest incident comes just a few weeks after all flights were grounded at Gatwick Airport after it was reported that drones were seen near the site.

BBC producer Kathy Long, speaking from a plane waiting to depart at Heathrow, said passengers had not been told officially what was behind the delay.

"I have already spoken to both the Home Secretary and Defence Secretary and the military are preparing to deploy the equipment used at Gatwick at Heathrow quickly should it prove necessary".

More than 140,000 passengers at Gatwick were affected during 36 hours of chaos between 19 and 21 December.

Under new rules announced earlier on Tuesday, drones will have to stay further away from airports.

The exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a three-mile radius, with extensions from runway ends.

Police will also be allowed to fine users up to £100 (112 euros, $128) for failing to comply when instructed to land a drone, or not showing registration to operate a drone.

From November 30 this year, operators of drones weighing between 250g and 20kg will also have to register and take an online pilot competency test.

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