It has been reported by multiple news sources that anti-drone technology will be deployed at Gatwick and Heathrow airports in the UK. This measure is being taken following disruption cased by drones in the run-up to Christmas, when around 1,000 Gatwick flights were cancelled or diverted across three days after drones were supposedly seen inside the airport perimeter.
The rules for flying recreational drones in the UK, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, are that the drone must always be in line of sight, not be within 50 metres of people, vehicles or buildings, and not fly higher than 122 metres (400 feet). In addition, it is illegal to fly a drone within 1 km of an airport. However, this didn’t stop two drones being flown ‘over the perimeter fence and into where the runway operates from’. A man and a woman were arrested in connection with the ‘criminal use of drones’ but were later exonerated.
UK news source The Independent stated that millions of pounds will be invested in anti-drone technology in order to prevent future flight disruption. “The safety of our passengers and colleagues remains our top priority,” said a spokesperson for Heathrow. “Working closely with relevant authorities including the Metropolitan Police, we are constantly looking at the best technologies that help remove the threat of drones.” The airports haven’t yet disclosed the specific equipment they plan to deploy.