News // 14 January 2019

Heathrow & London Gatwick Airports to employ anti-drone technology

Officials at both London Heathrow and Gatwick Airports have confirmed that there are plans to rollout anti-drone technology at the earliest opportunity.

Over Christmas travellers faced huge disruption when hundreds of flights were grounded and over 100,000 passengers affected, after suspected drone sightings took place in the vicinity of Gatwick’s runways. The RAF were called in, as the runways shut on a number of occasions, once for a full day.

Last week Heathrow faced a similar incident, though a shorter period of disruption.

As drone use rises, many argue that legislation and regulation is not moving quickly enough to deal with the problems they create.

The BBC reports that as a result, airport officials will invest millions of pounds into buying equipment which has the ability to detect and jam communications between drones and their operators.

What Harm Can a Drone do to Airplanes?

Unfortunately drones do pose a significant threat to aircrafts. The Financial Times reports that a 400g drone could smash a helicopter’s windscreen, while a 2kg drone could do “critical damage” to a passenger jet’s windscreen.

The number of incidents between drones and other aircrafts has grown dramatically too. In 2013 there were no incidents reported. In 2017 there were 93 and in the first 11 months of 2018 there were 177.

Drone Disruption

During both the Heathrow and Gatwick incidents we had a number of clients affected by the flight cancellations and delays.

Within minutes of the incidents being confirmed, we contacted all affected clients (so they didn’t have to queue for hours at customer service desks), then took steps to rebook flights, rearrange trips or process refunds where applicable.

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