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UK airports invest heavily in drone defence technology

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Just before Christmas, at the height of the travel season, Gatwick’s flights were brought to a standstill over the course of 36 hours due to drone sightings next to the runways. With more than 1,000 flights disrupted and 140,000 passengers affected, the incident was so serious is required military intervention. 

Following the security incident, both Gatwick and Heathrow airports announced they are investing millions of pounds on anti-drone technology this year, although the exact equipment to be deployed has not been disclosed by either party.

Bill Goodwin, General Counsel at AirMap

In 2018, we saw countries from all over the world launching projects to help further improve their airspace infrastructure management. Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Japan, the United States and others have launched projects to improve safety and connectivity for beyond visual line-of-sight operations, often used by enterprises and public safety organisations.

Image courtesy of AirMap

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport Chief Executive

There are obviously wider strategic lessons for everyone involved to prevent it happening again, and Gatwick itself has taken a number of important steps in recent days which will make a significant difference to the airport’s resilience.

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Heathrow spokesperson

The safety of our passengers and colleagues remains our top priority. Working closely with relevant authorities including the Met Police, we are constantly looking at the best technologies that help remove the threat of drones.

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