Gatwick All Over Again: Alleged Drone Flying Around Heathrow Airport in the UK

By Kehl Bayern / January 8, 2019

Last Updated on by

In a repeat of the holiday scare that paralyzed air traffic at Gatwick, Heathrow airport outside of London was similarly brought to standstill by sightings of an alleged drone in the area of the airport.

Image via George Desipris from

Heathrow posted to its Twitter account the following message: “We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety. As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate. We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause.”

According to FStoppers, Scotland Yard “received reports of a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of Heathrow airport” and launched an investigation immediately.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the government was ready to deploy resources similar to those used at Gatwick should the Heathrow situation merit it.

New rules grant extensive powers to local authorities in the United Kingdom to disable drones that invade the airspace in and around airports. There will now be a 3 kilometer exclusion zone for UAVs around airports in the United Kingdom. Pilots that violate these limits could face jail time according to Sky News. Pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles between 250g and 20kg in weight will have to undergo testing and registration in the UK. We reported on this last year and it is a long expected development.

Speaking about how the situation at Gatwick was handled, Transport Secretary Grayling said, “I am clear the government is taking action to ensure that passengers have confidence their journeys will not be disrupted in future, aircraft can safely use our key transport hubs and criminals misusing drones can be brought to justice.”

These recent events will probably only speed up the efforts on the part of local governments around the world to regulate and control UAVs. Of course, we’ll bring you the latest developments as they happen.


About the author

Kehl Bayern

Kehl Bayern is our staff news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing. In terms of photography, he is interested in architecture and modern design. Kehl Bayern is also the author of science fiction thriller Animus Proxy. He is based in Boston, Massachusetts and studied politics at the University of Virginia and, later, Harvard University for graduate school. He spends much of his time traveling up and down the east coast of the United States. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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