Flight arrivals at Newark Airport in New Jersey were suspended for about two hours due to a drone sighting at a nearby airport.
Around 5pm the Federal Aviation Administration received two reports from flights headed to Newark of a drone sighting about 3,500 feet above Teterboro Airport, about 17 miles north of Newark.
Pilots reported seeing what ‘looks like a drone’ within 30 feet of a plane during its final approach, according to Air Traffic Control audio obtained from LiveATC.
‘There’s something flying here, we thought it might be a drone. There is definitely something there,’ one person is heard saying.
‘Missed the drone by about 30 feet off our right wing,’ a pilot reported.
As a result of the drone the incoming flights to Newark, one of the busiest airports in the world, were held briefly and delayed thousands of passengers. Arrivals resumed after two hours when no further drone sightings were reported.
Flights arriving to Newark Airport Tuesday evening were suspended for two hours after two flights reported a drone sighting 3,500 feet above Teterboro Airport (file image of a drone above)
The FAA received the drone sighting reports at 5pm and all arrival flights at Newark Airport were suspended, leaving many flights circling the air. Operations resumed after two hours
The airport starting operating as normal just after 7pm EST. The FAA had no reports of delays at the airport on its website.
Both Newark and Teterboro serve the greater New York City Area.
Passenger Brett Sosnik was on a United Airlines flight from the Bahamas bound for Newark when the pilot announced the flight would have to circle in the air due to the drone sighting in Newark airspace.
Sosnik said the 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. 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,’ Sosnik, a New York City resident, said.
Flights grounded at the Newark Airport tarmac for two hours on Tuesday evening pictured above
File image of flight cancellations at Newark airport above
Newark airport, one of the busiest in the world, pictured above
Another United passenger flying to Newark had his flight diverted to Philadelphia due to the drone interference.
‘Inbound JAX to @EWR and pilot just announced we are holding due to “possible drone activity” at the airport. Lovely,’ Michael T. Rose said.
Atlanta man Marcus Owens tweeted his frustration Tuesday evening saying: ‘If you’re flying a drone near EWR right now, could you ground it and have a sandwich or something? You just shut down all arrivals.’
Marissa Nardi of Manhattan said her flight from Iceland took an extra 45 minutes, according to NBC. Another passenger Greg Nichols of Philadelphia said his plane circled for about a half-hour.
United Airlines spokesman Robert Einhorn said the impact on its operations ‘has been minimal so far.’
‘We are monitoring reports of drone activity, which the FAA is investigating. The impact to our operations has been minimal so far. We are working closely with the airport and the FAA to return our operations to normal as quickly as possible,’ the airline said in a statement to NJ.com.
Newark Liberty Airport updated travelers that operations had returned to normal via Twitter.
‘Normal #EWR operations have resumed after arrivals were briefly held by the FAA due to reports of drone activity north of the airport earlier this evening. We’re coordinating with the FAA & fully supporting all federal law enforcement authorities as they investigate this incident,’ the statement said.
Passenger Brett Sosnik was on a United Airlines flight from the Bahamas bound for Newark when the pilot announced the flight would have to circle in the air due to the drone sighting
Another United passenger flying to Newark had his flight diverted to Philadelphia due to the drone interference
This father vented his fury on Twitter about his delayed flight due to the drone sighting
‘You just shut down all arrivals’: This Twitter user pleaded for the drone flyer to stop their antics
After operations resumed, Newark announced arrivals were averaging 55 minute delays.
A ground stop was in place at other airports on flights headed for Newark until the backlog of arrivals finally landed.
FAA prohibits drones from flying within five miles of airports or above 400 feet because of the danger they pose to the other air traffic.
The drone sighting led to a police helicopter search however the FAA was unable to find those drones and do not immediately know who flew them.
The eerie drone sighting could have led to an airport disaster similar to the chaos that unfolded at Gatwick Airport in London England where hundreds of flights were cancelled due to a number of drone sightings between December 19 and 21 2018.
The sporadic drone sightings ruined the Christmas travels of 120,000 people.
Earlier this month London’s bustling Heathrow Airport was also briefly halted departing flights after a reported drone sighting.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates both Newark Liberty International and Teterboro airports, did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
The incident follows the drone chaos that unfolded at Gatwick Airport in London, England when several UAV sightings were reported from December 19 to 21, grounding hundreds of flights
Angry passengers pictured waiting for flight updates at Gatwick Airports after runways were closed due to drone sightings on December 29, 2018