Drone sighting halts departures at Heathrow Airport in London

Drone sighting halts departures at Heathrow Airport in London

Many passengers, some of which were trapped inside aircrafts, took to social media to vent their frustration.

All flights from London's Heathrow airport were halted on Tuesday (local time) after the airport said there had been sightings of a drone near Europe's busiest air hub.

Chaos sparked at the UK's biggest airport on at 5.05pm following reports of a drone sighting.

ITV reporter Sarah Rogers confirmed the closure of the runway, writing on Twitter: "Grounded at #Heathrow whilst waiting to fly home to Manchester, first officer says flights suspended whilst police investigate possible #drone activity..."

The airport said the decision has been taken as a precautionary measure. "We apologize to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause".

An extra 25,000 flights a year could come through Heathrow before the third runway is built, in plans revealed by the airport as it launched a fresh consultation over its airspace and operations.

Gatwick said it had spent £5m to prevent future attacks.

Arriving planes, however, are continuing to land at Heathrow.

Transport Minster Chris Grayling said the military are "preparing to deploy equipment used at Gatwick should it prove necessary".

York said he is "absolutely certain that there was a drone flying throughout the period that the airport was closed".

Student Gabriella Linning, 20, said she is on a grounded flight to Newcastle, told MailOnline the pilot of her plane said passengers should let staff know if they wish to disembark.

Grayling said the disruption at Gatwick between December 19 and 21 was "deliberate, irresponsible and calculated, as well as illegal".

In the aftermath of the Gatwick incident it was announced that new measures would be brought into place regarding drone exclusion areas around airports, as well as competency tests for people owning drones over a certain size.

The exclusion zone around airports is now one kilometre (half a mile) and this will be extended to five kilometres.