A drone caused a UK airport to shut down for nearly an hour

Leeds Bradford International Airport LBAJames W Copeland/Shutterstock

  • Flights at Leeds Bradford Airport in the United Kingdom were held for nearly an hour on Friday after a drone was seen flying near the runway.
  • An inbound flight noticed the drone while on approach, causing a 45-minute closure.
  • Flights resumed after a search - numerous flights were delayed, and one diverted to nearby Manchester.
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Flights to and from Leeds Bradford Airport in Northern England were held for nearly an hour Friday afternoon following a drone sighting in the area.

Inbound flights were seen on flight-tracking websites circling in holding patterns near the airport, before one was forced to divert to Manchester Airport, while departing flights were held on the ground.

"Stuck on a plane at #LeedsBradford Airport because there's a drone flying nearby. All flights halted," one stranded passenger tweeted while waiting to take off.

According to a spokesperson for the airport, the drone was spotted by a pilot on an inbound flight.

While Leeds Bradford is a relatively smaller regional airport - the 15th busiest in the UK, according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority - the Friday afternoon delays came in the midst of peak summer travel season.

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There have been several high-profile drone incidents near airports in the past year. In December, more than 100,000 passengers faced delays and cancellations at London's Gatwick airport when the airport shuttered flight operations following reported drone sightings.

The spokesperson for the airport said in a statement:

"At 12:55 today, an inbound flight spotted a drone on approach to Leeds Bradford Airport. The necessary safety procedures were immediately activated, which resulted in the airport being closed for 45 minutes and a flight being diverted to Manchester Airport. We can now confirm that the airport is fully open and receiving flights again. We are liaising with West Yorkshire Police regarding the incident and will continue to monitor the situation closely."
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