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Major US airport halts flights after drone sighting

The incident comes after drone sightings were blamed for huge disruption at Gatwick.

Flights were suspended from Newark on Tuesday evening (Mark Lennihan/AP)
Flights were suspended from Newark on Tuesday evening (Mark Lennihan/AP)

Flights into a major US airport were briefly suspended on Tuesday evening after a drone was spotted over another nearby airport.

At about 5pm (9pm GMT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received two reports from flights headed to Newark Airport in New Jersey that they had spotted a drone about 3,500 feet over nearby Teterboro Airport.

The administration said in a statement that arriving flights were held briefly but resumed after no further sightings were reported.

The airport, which serves New York City, said just after 7pm that it was operating normally again. The FAA had no reports of delays at the airport on its website.

Brett Sosnik was on a United Airlines flight bound for Newark when the pilot told passengers that they would be circling in the air because of a drone spotted in Newark airspace.

Mr Sosnik, who was returning from the Bahamas, said his plane circled for about half an hour.

“I was looking around trying to find a drone in the air when we were closer to landing, but I didn’t see anything,” said Sosnik, a New York City resident who works in marketing.

“There’s got to be a way to combat that stuff and not have it affect huge airports with such a little piece of technology.”

United Airlines spokesman Robert Einhorn said the impact on its operations “has been minimal so far”.

London’s Heathrow Airport briefly halted departing flights earlier this month after a reported drone sighting — just three weeks after multiple reports of drone sightings caused travel chaos at nearby Gatwick Airport.

In the US, unless the operator gets a waiver from the FAA, drones are not allowed within 5 miles of most airports, and are not supposed to fly above 400 feet.



From Belfast Telegraph