Drone Flying near Newark Airport Briefly Halts Flights

TEHRAN(Tasnim) - All flights bound for Newark Liberty International Airport were halted on Tuesday evening after two pilots reported seeing a drone flying nearby, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Drone Flying near Newark Airport Briefly Halts Flights

The drone was spotted about 3,500 feet over Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, a small airport about 17 miles north of Newark Liberty that handles private planes, the agency said. After the sightings, takeoffs from Newark were halted and inbound planes were held in the air.

By 5:45 p.m., planes had resumed landing at Newark, but planes headed for the airport from other cities were blocked from taking off, the agency said. Newark is one of the three main airports serving New York City and the surrounding region, The New York Times reported.

Brett Sosnik, a passenger on a flight headed for Newark, said his plane was forced to circle out over southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania during the halt in arrivals. He said the pilot said they were circling “due to drone activity.”

The pilot of an inbound united flight from New Orleans that was due to land at Newark around 6 p.m. said the plane had circled for about 20 minutes because of the drone activity before diverting to Philadelphia to refuel. At 6:20 p.m. he said he expected to continue on to Newark soon.

Just after 7 p.m., Port Authority officials said that normal operations had resumed at Newark Liberty, ending a disruption that lasted about 90 minutes. They said they would work with the F.A.A. and federal law-enforcement agencies “as they investigate this incident.”

Teterboro Airport is patrolled by the Port Authority Police Department and falls within the jurisdiction of the Moonachie Police Department. Asked Tuesday evening about the drone sighting, an officer on duty there said the department was unaware of it.

The disruption came one month after reported drone sightings caused the shutdown of Gatwick Airport in London. Those sightings led to the grounding or diversion of more than 1,000 flights over three days. The resulting chaos affected more than 140,000 passengers in Britain and reverberated around the world, delaying tens of thousands of people traveling for the holidays.

The aviation administration limits amateur drone flights to an altitude of 400 feet and prohibits flying them in controlled airspace without a permit. Flying a drone near a major airport like Newark Liberty requires clearance from air traffic controllers.

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