Weeks after reported drone sightings disrupted operations at London’s Gatwick Airport, London Heathrow Airport briefly suspended departures on Jan. 8 to investigate a drone sighting.

Heathrow announced on Twitter that it was working with London Metropolitan Police in response to a drone sighting and had stopped departures as a precautionary measure. The police department said it received reports of a sighting in the vicinity of the airport, located 15 mi. west of central London, at 5:05 p.m. local time.

About one hour later, the airport said it had resumed departures while continuing to monitor the situation with police and air traffic control.

The temporary flight suspension at Heathrow—Europe’s busiest airport by passenger volume—comes less than three weeks after rogue drones were reported at Gatwick Airport south of London, forcing it repeatedly to close between Dec. 19-21. The disruption resulted in hundreds of canceled flights.

Sussex Police are investigating the incidents at Gatwick and evaluating information from 115 witnesses who claim to have seen drones flying in the vicinity of the airport.

UK NATS, which provides tower service at Heathrow, in November reported that 74% of the 1,000 people surveyed for its annual Aviation Index believe drones pose a safety risk to flights during takeoff and landing. Drone sightings near airports by pilots stood at 118 in November, surpassing the 93 sightings recorded in 2017, it said.

Bill Carey, bill.carey@aviationweek.com