All inbound flights to Newark International Airport were halted briefly yesterday because a drone was spotted about 3,500 feet above Teterboro.
Similar to what happened at London’s Gatwick Airport, the United States airport temporarily shut down flights arriving into Newark. The airport is currently open and flights are now allowed to land.
“At approximately around 5 PM we received two reports from incoming flights into Newark that a drone was sighted at about 3500 feet above Teterboro, New Jersey. At that point, flights arriving into Newark were held for a short duration. Since then, and with no further drone sightings, arrivals have been resumed. However we still have a ground stop in place at other airports departing for Newark until a backlog of arrivals can be cleared. We expect that to be lifted soon,” said an FAA spokesperson to The Verge.
How long was the delay?
Live flight tracking site FlightAware claims the arrivals to Newark experienced about a 16 to 30 minute delay. Compared to the Gatwick Airport shutdown, which lasted 24 hours, that isn’t very long.
The situation wasn’t as serious as it was at Gatwick. The drone spotted at Newark wasn’t flying over the airport as the two drones spotted at the Gatwick Airport were. The drone was about 15 minutes away. The shutdown was implemented mainly for the sake of caution rather than as the result of a direct threat.
In within a month, we’ve seen three airports temporarily shutdown because of drones. It started with Gatwick, then it was London’s Heathrow Airport, and now its Newark. These shutdowns will likely continue to happen if there isn’t more effective security and regulation on drones around airports.
It’s clear that it isn’t just a single country’s problem either. While two of those shutdowns happened in the UK, this incident proves that the US isn’t impervious to drone shutdowns. It’s also a warning sign that these incidents will most likely continue to happen as drones break into the mainstream and more people use them.