NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Flight arrivals at Newark Airport were briefly suspended Tuesday evening after a drone was spotted over another nearby airport, officials said, in the latest incident of the unmanned aircraft affecting commercial air travel.
At about 5 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration received two reports from flights headed to Newark that they had spotted a drone about 3,500 feet (1,000 meters) over nearby Teterboro Airport. The administration said in a statement that arriving flights were held briefly but resumed after no further sightings were reported.
The airport, which serves New York City, said just after 7 p.m. that it was operating normally again. The FAA had no reports of delays at the airport on its website.
Brett Sosnik was on a United Airlines flight bound for Newark when the pilot told passengers that they would be circling in the air because of a drone spotted in Newark airspace. Sosnik, who was returning from the Bahamas, said his plane circled for about half an hour.
“I was looking around trying to find a drone in the air when we were closer to landing, but I didn’t see anything,” said Sosnik, a New York City resident who works in marketing. “There’s got to be a way to combat that stuff and not have it affect huge airports with such a little piece of technology.”
United Airlines spokesman Robert Einhorn said the impact on its operations “has been minimal so far.”
London’s Heathrow Airport briefly halted departing flights earlier this month after a reported drone sighting — just three weeks after multiple reports of drone sightings caused travel chaos at nearby Gatwick Airport.
In the U.S., unless the operator gets a waiver from the FAA, drones are not allowed within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of most airports, and are not supposed to fly above 400 feet (120 meters).