Gatwick Airport: Drone sightings cause delays

A member of airport staff addresses a crowd of passengers

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Passengers stranded at Gatwick waited for updates on their journey choices

1000’s of passengers at one of many UK’s busiest airports are experiencing flight disruption after drones have been seen over the airfield.

Gatwick’s runway stays closed after two of the gadgets have been seen close by.

About 10,00zero passengers have been affected as flights have been unable to take off and incoming planes have been redirected – with some touchdown in Paris and Amsterdam.

Chief working officer Chris Woodroofe mentioned workers have been looking for a drone reported as nonetheless being within the air.

The airport mentioned 110,00zero passengers have been as a result of both take off or land on the airport on 760 flights on Thursday.

These as a result of journey have been advised to examine the standing of their flight, whereas Easyjet advised its passengers to not go to Gatwick if their flights have been cancelled.

European air site visitors administration group Eurocontrol mentioned the runway would stay closed till 11:00 GMT.

Gatwick Airport: Dwell updates

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Flights have been diverted to different airports following the runway closure

The shutdown began simply after 21:00 on Wednesday when two drones have been noticed being flown over the airfield.

The runway was briefly reopened at about 03:01, the airport mentioned, however pressured to shut once more about 45 minutes later amid “an additional sighting of drones”.

Police models and a helicopter have been nonetheless attempting to find the drone operator after one other system was reported simply earlier than 07:00.

Mr Woodroofe advised the BBC two drones had been seen flying “over the perimeter fence and into the place the runway operates from”, sparking “very important disruption”.

He mentioned police had not needed to shoot the gadgets down due to the danger from stray bullets.

It’s unlawful to fly a drone inside 1km of an airport or airfield boundary.

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Eddie Mitchell

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Passengers say many individuals have been pressured to sleep on the ground in a single day on the airport

Planes have been diverted to different airports together with London Heathrow, Luton and Manchester.

Aviation web site airlive.internet mentioned some providers have been re-routed as far-off as Cardiff, Paris and Amsterdam.

Crowds of passengers waited inside Gatwick’s terminal for updates, whereas others reported being caught on ready planes for a number of hours.

Kasia Jaworska advised the BBC she had been travelling from Glasgow to Gatwick along with her boyfriend when her flight was diverted to Luton.

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Media captionPassengers affected by disruption at Gatwick Airport spoke of their frustration.

After spending about two hours on the aircraft, she mentioned the couple have been placed on a bus to Gatwick, from the place they’d been as a result of fly to Istanbul.

Ms Jaworska mentioned she thought it was “unusual” that two drones had led to the closure of the airport.

“You’d think about there can be higher safety in place and emergency motion for one thing like that,” she added.

Christopher Lister, who had been coming back from Kiev, posted an image of individuals sleeping “on each seat and throughout the flooring” on board his flight.

He mentioned the photograph was taken six hours after the aircraft – which was as a result of arrive at Gatwick – landed in Birmingham.

Luke McComiskie, whose flight ended up in Manchester, described chaotic scenes as folks tried to seek out their method dwelling after greater than three hours caught onboard.

The 20-year-old, from Aldershot, advised the Press Affiliation: “We received advised there can be some preparations with coaches for us once we get out the terminal.

“It was simply chaos they usually had solely two coaches and taxis charging folks £600 to get to Gatwick.”

Eddie Boyes mentioned he and his household had been on the airport for six hours and folks have been sleeping on the ground.

Drones and airports

The regulation says:

  • It’s unlawful to fly a drone inside 1km of an airport or airfield boundary
  • Flying above 400ft (120m) – which will increase the danger of a collision with a manned plane – can also be unlawful
  • Endangering the security of an plane is a felony offence which might carry a jail sentence of 5 years


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Eddie Mitchell

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The airport mentioned some inbound flights have been in a holding sample whereas others had been diverted

Gatwick Airport mentioned airways have been “working to supply affected passengers with lodge lodging” or present different journey choices.

A spokesman apologised for any inconvenience and mentioned workers have been working alongside Sussex Police to analyze the drone sightings.

British Airways mentioned a “very small variety of flights” had been diverted.

In accordance with its web site, the airport expects to welcome a “record-breaking” variety of passengers over this yr’s Christmas interval.

It predicts 2.9m folks will go by way of its gates in the course of the festive getaway, with 73,00zero of these as a result of depart this Sunday.

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Staff Writer
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