Home Uncategorized London airports invest in anti-drone measures

London airports invest in anti-drone measures


London’s two largest airports say they have acquired, or plan to acquire, anti-drone technology in the wake of the pre-Christmas disruption at London Gatwick.

There, flights were suspended for varying periods between Dec. 19-21 after drones were spotted over the runway, resulting in severe delays and cancellations for an estimated 140,000 passengers.

The airport was only re-opened after the British Army moved military-grade anti-drone equipment to Gatwick to disable or dissuade any further incursions.

The army has now withdrawn the equipment from the site, but a Gatwick spokeswoman told ATW Jan. 4 that it had acquired its own anti-drone equipment at a cost of “several million pounds.” Apart from confirming the presence of the equipment, she declined to give further details.

Asked why the airport did not have some system in place to tackle unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, prior to last month’s events—UAV sightings around UK airports have become increasingly common in recent years—she said: “There wasn’t a definitive, proven method [to tackle UAVs] at that time.” She added that Gatwick had equipment in place “to secure the safety of the airfield during the incident” but would not say what it was.

In response to ATW’s inquiries Jan. 4 as to what measures are being taken to prevent a similar incident to the Gatwick event, London Heathrow Airport issued a brief statement: “Working closely with relevant authorities including the Met Police, we are constantly looking at the best technologies that help remove the threat of drones.”

Asked whether that meant it had actually acquired a suitable system, a spokeswoman said: “We are investing, but in terms of how much [money] and what we’re looking at, we can’t say.”

A spokesman for London Stansted Airport, which is owned by Manchester Airports Group, said: “It’s a group position that we are not making any comment on drone activity in general.”

A spokesman for London Luton Airport did not specifically answer what anti-drone measures it might be putting in place but said in a written statement: “We work closely with the relevant authorities to ensure our passengers and staff are well protected and constantly review all security measures to remove any potential threats to the airport.”

source: ATW


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