Flights suspended at Heathrow due to drone sighting

Drones have GPS systems fitted which stop them from functioning when they exceed height restrictions

Scotland Yard said it "received reports of a sighting of a drone in the vicinity of Heathrow airport" at about 5.05pm.

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Another wrote; "Grounded at #Heathrow whilst waiting to fly home to Manchester, first officer says flights suspended whilst police investigate possible #drone activity".

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", it said. "We apologize to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause".

No further details about the ongoing situation have been released.

It comes just weeks after drone sightings at Gatwick grounded planes for several days over the Christmas period.

Gatwick closed on the evening of December 19 and for much of the day on both December 20 and 21.

Passengers are taking to social media to report that they are stuck on the tarmac at Heathrow this evening because of the incident.

This is a breaking news story.

Transport Minster Chris Grayling said the military are "preparing to deploy equipment used at Gatwick should it prove necessary".

In a separate consultation past year, most respondents rejected the idea of concentrating more planes over the same area and asked the airport to vary flight paths, which is likely to affect thousands more homes.

One tweeted: "We've been sitting on the runway at Heathrow for like an hour and a half". More than 140,000 passengers had their flights disrupted and more than 1,000 flights were affected between December 19th and December 21st 2019.

Heathrow recently said it was looking at technology to combat the threat of drones.

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.

The exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a three-mile radius, with extensions from runway ends. Heathrow also confirmed it would be buying systems to guard against drones.

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