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All flights suspended at Heathrow due to drone sighting
08 January 2019, 09:29 | Austin Hogan
Delayed Paul Maskey
Flights from the west London airport resumed about an hour after police said a drone had been seen.
"As a precautionary measure, Heathrow Airport has stopped departures and officers based at Heathrow are now investigating the reports with colleagues from Heathrow Airport", they said.
"We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety", the airport's Twitter account said. "They've only given us one update to say it was because of drone activity in departures", one passenger said, adding that they have not been given an estimate to when they can depart. "We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience".
One key new power grants the police the option of demanding evidence from drone owners, should the local force think there's "reasonable suspicion" that they were breaking current drone flight rules.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the military was "preparing to deploy the equipment used at Gatwick at Heathrow quickly should it prove necessary".
Another said: "Stuck onboard a plane in runway at #Heathrow. Apparently we can't take off due to #drone sighting!"
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And a fourth said: "Sitting on The runway at London's #Heathrow Airport has been closed due to drone activity".
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.
BBC producer Kathy Long, speaking from a plane waiting to depart at Heathrow, confirmed passengers were told they won't be departing in the near future.
It comes just weeks after drone sightings at Gatwick grounded planes for several days over the Christmas period. About 1,000 flights were cancelled or diverted, affecting 140,000 passengers.
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