Heathrow, Gatwick investing in anti-drone technology

An EasyJet Airbus 320-214 aircraft prepares to land at London Gatwick Airport, south of London, on December 21, 2018, as flights resumed following the closing of the airfield due to a drone flying. (AFP)
Updated 04 January 2019

Heathrow, Gatwick investing in anti-drone technology

  • The British army was deployed to London Gatwick on December 20 after the airport grounded all flights
  • Two people, a middle-aged couple who lived near Gatwick, were arrested over the suspected "criminal use of drones" but later released without charge

LONDON: Britain's two biggest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, are investing in anti-drone technology following severe disruption at Gatwick caused by drone sightings in the run-up to Christmas, spokesmen said on Friday.
The British army was deployed to London Gatwick on December 20 after the airport grounded all flights, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded over some of the busiest days of the year.
"We have invested several million pounds (dollars, euros) in providing ourselves with the equipment and the technology that the armed forces deployed over Christmas," a Gatwick Airport spokesman told AFP.
He said investment was made "in the days immediately after" the disruption but declined to give details, saying only that it had "equivalent capabilities" to the technology used by the military.
A spokesman for London Heathrow, Britain's biggest airport, also said they would be investing in anti-drone technology.
"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," he said.
Two people, a middle-aged couple who lived near Gatwick, were arrested over the suspected "criminal use of drones" but later released without charge.
The police were criticised for their handling of the incident after a detective admitted it was a "possibility" that no drones had actually been in the area - despite the discovery of a damaged device near the airport perimeter.


Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

Updated 17 September 2019

Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

  • Staff said Tuesday they found no sign of illness or injury on the 19-year-old panda’s body
  • A zoo veterinarian said pandas have a life expectancy of 14-20 years

BANGKOK: Zoo staff in northern Thailand have donned black and white clothing and observed a minute of silence to mourn the sudden death of their popular male giant panda, who was on a long-term loan from China.

Officials said Chuang Chuang collapsed Monday in his enclosure at the Chiang Mai Zoo shortly after standing up following a meal of bamboo leaves.

Staff said Tuesday they found no sign of illness or injury on the 19-year-old panda’s body, and that he had recently passed a health checkup.

A zoo veterinarian said pandas have a life expectancy of 14-20 years. Chuang Chuang and his female mate arrived in Chiang Mai in 2003 on a 10-year loan that was later extended for another 10 years.