Drones came just 9m from colliding with an aircraft operating out of Teterboro Airport New Jersey.

The pilot flying out of a private airstrip in New Jersey avoided the remote-controlled aircraft, but airports including Newark Liberty International Airport, were closed by air traffic officials.

The airport carries 20 million passengers each year and serves nearby New York City, making it the 11th busiest airfield in the US.

This is thought to be the first incident of its kind in the State, following similar incidents at two London airports over Christmas.


In the UK, flights out of Gatwick and Heathrow were cancelled following drone sightings. Hundreds of flights were cancelled over the course of three days, leading to many days worth of delays over the busy Christmas period.

"At approximately 5pm, we received two reports from incoming flights into Newark that a drone was sighted at about 3500ft above Teterboro, New Jersey," read a statement from the Federal Aviation Authority.

"At that point, flights arriving into Newark were held for a short duration. Since then, and with no further drone sightings, arrivals have been resumed.

"However, we still have a ground stop in place at other airports departing for Newark until a backlog of arrivals can be cleared. We expect that to be lifted soon."

United Airlines which operates out of Newark as a regional hub, said "the impact to our operations has been minimal so far."

Speaking with the BBC, a spokesperson for the US airline said: "We are working closely with the airport and the FAA to return our operations to normal as quickly as possible"

Drone menace

The drone incidents over UK airspace were so disruptive they are likely to cause copycat crimes.

With Heathrow subjected to attacks by drones just three weeks after Gatwick, this led speculation that it might have been the same culprits to blame.


However, due to lack of suspects and those held in connection to the Gatwick drone disruptions being released without charge – the rogue drone pilots were able to escape without consequence.

Yesterday the chief executive of easyJet, Johan Lundgren, said last month's drone disruption was a "wake-up call" for airports after it was revealed the airline was forced to pay £ 15 ($28) in compensation to passengers affected.