Gatwick Airport: Drone sightings halt flights

Gatwick Airport: Drone sightings halt flights

Image caption

Passengers stranded at Gatwick waited for updates on their travel options

Flights at Gatwick Airport have been suspended amid reports of two drones being flown over the airfield.

The runway was closed after the devices were seen nearby on Wednesday evening. Flights were grounded and inbound planes diverted elsewhere.

Passengers have been warned disruption could continue on Thursday.

Those heading to Gatwick to travel or collect relatives were advised to check the status of their flight with their airline.

The runway was re-opened at about 03:01 GMT, the airport said, but forced to close again about 45 minutes later amid “a further sighting of drones in the vicinity”.

A spokesman apologised for any inconvenience and said Sussex Police was working alongside Gatwick staff to investigate.

According to the airport, the drones were first seen at 21:03 GMT on Wednesday, followed by “multiple reports” of sightings.

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Those expecting to travel from Gatwick on Thursday have been advised to check with their airline

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

After spending about two hours on the plane, she said the couple were put on a bus to Gatwick, from where they had been due to fly to Istanbul.

Ms Jaworska said it was “strange” that two drones had led to the closure of the airport.

“You would imagine there would be better security in place and emergency action for something like that,” she said.

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Kasia Jaworska was due to fly to Istanbul

On social media, passengers spoke of flights being diverted to other UK airports, including London Heathrow, Luton and Manchester.

Rashna Havewalla said she and her fellow passengers were sat waiting inside their aircraft at Manchester.

Drones and airports

The law says:

  • It is illegal to fly a drone within 1km of an airport or airfield boundary
  • Flying above 400ft (120m) – which increases the risk of a collision with a manned aircraft – is also illegal
  • Endangering the safety of an aircraft is a criminal offence which can carry a prison sentence of five years

Source: dronesafe.uk

Richard Hargreaves’ easyJet flight was redirected to Birmingham, with those on board waiting to fly back to Gatwick.

Honor Ireland said her flight had ended up at Stansted, but her car was parked at Gatwick.

Gatwick Airport said airlines were “working to provide affected passengers with hotel accommodation” or provide alternative travel options.


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Source: BBC BBC

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