Grayling: We don’t know how to stop airport drones
THE technology to prevent drone disruption at UK airports does not exist, Chris Grayling has warned.
The Transport Secretary said there was no “off-the-shelf solution” to stopping drones flying near critical national infrastructure, and prevention technology was “very immature”.
His comments suggest the Government is unable to guarantee there will not be a repeat of the chaos suffered by passengers at Gatwick Airport in December and at Heathrow last week.
He told Sky News: “Well, the simple answer is, in the case of Gatwick what happened there was a unique situation that has not happened anywhere else in the world.
“Heathrow was different. Heathrow was a drone that appeared and disappeared. Gatwick was a deliberate disruptive attack. The systems do not exist to completely tackle a problem like this.” Gatwick said it had spent £5million to prevent future disruption while Heathrow has said it will be taking action to combat the threat of drones.
The Government has urged all commercial airports to invest in anti-drone technology.
Mr Grayling said military equipment had helped “ease the situation” at Gatwick. He added: “This is a new area, the technology is very immature, there is a lot of effort now going into this from airports around the UK. We’re working with them to try and find the right solutions but there wasn’t a simple off-theshelf solution that should have been in place that wasn’t in place.”
Drone sightings at Gatwick before Christmas forced the airport to suspend flights for more than 36 hours. Heathrow suspended flights for an hour last Tuesday after a reported drone sighting.
The Government has pledged to give police new powers to crack down on illegal use of drones.