The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered a ground stop at Newark airport on Tuesday evening, after drones were seen flying over the nearby airfield, disrupting air travel in the New York City area.
All traffic at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey was temporarily halted after two drones were seen flying at 3,500 feet over Teterboro, a nearby airport that serves private and corporate flights.
Although the ground stop for departures was lifted after approximately half an hour, arrivals are still on hold due to the backlog. Newark Liberty (EWR) is the 11th-busiest airport in the US.
The alarm at Newark comes just weeks after drone sightings forced delays and closures at two major airports in the UK. All flights to and from London Heathrow were grounded on January 8 after a reported drone sighting.
On December 19, London’s Gatwick airport was shut down for three days due to drone sightings, resulting in the cancelation of 1,000 flights affecting 140,000 passengers.
Both airports have since ordered military-grade anti-drone technology.
US government records show there are almost 1.3 million registered unmanned aerial vehicles and over 116,000 drone operators in the country. The government believes there are “hundreds of thousands” of additional, unregistered drones in the US, however.