Newcastle Airport
The airport has worked with Northumbria Police to enhance its drone detection capabilities
Richard Bell

Drone flown at Newcastle International as airport shores up UAV defences

The North East’s biggest airport is shoring up its drone defences as unmanned aerial vehicles continue to cause travel chaos around the UK.

Newcastle Airport has advised that a drone was flown on its grounds today (January 10) as part of tests into its detection capabilities.

In a statement released this morning, the airport said: “Passengers and members of the public are advised that we are flying a drone at the airport today, this is to test our drone detection systems.”

Richard Knight, chief operating officer at Newcastle Airport, said the site has contingency plans in place for “a range of operational scenarios”, which includes a drone flying close to the airfield.

Such plans are in line with national requirements for airports, but Mr Knight said the airport has been working with Northumbria Police to enhance its drone detection capabilities and joint response plans, in light of the travel chaos seen at Gatwick and Heathrow.

He continued: “Work is ongoing to further improve our ability to respond to an incident.

“We would like to remind the public that the use of drones within close proximity to an airport is both extremely dangerous and a criminal offence.”

In the run-up to Christmas, drone sightings grounded flights and caused travel misery for many heading home or on holiday for the festive period.

Earlier this week, police launched an investigation after reports of a drone at Heathrow Airport. A UAV was spotted just after 5pm on Tuesday (January 8), causing airport bosses to order an emergency one-hour halt to all flights taking off.

Police have been handed new powers in the wake of the incidents.

Airport exclusion zones are being extended from 1km to around 5km, and people can be fined or even put in prison if they fly drones within these areas.

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