Drones Cause Travel Disruptions at Gatwick Airport

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Update:  Gatwick reopened Friday, December 21 at noon (local time).

Update:  Gatwick closed again Friday, December 21 at 3pm(local time) due to a drone sighting.

Update:  A couple was arrested for the criminal use of drones on Friday night and the airport reopened.

On Wednesday night, Gatwick Airport, located just south of London reported that two drones were spotted over the airfield. The drone sightings caused the airport to suspend all flights out of an abundance of caution. This has led to numerous flight diversions or cancellations which has stranded hundreds of thousands passengers throughout Europe. Drones or any foreign object, can cause significant damage to aircraft windows or engines. Sussex Police and airport security are actively searching for the drone operators.

As of 1415 local time in the United Kingdom, the airport was stilled closed due to the drone sightings. Passengers were advised to contact their respective airlines for any travel updates.

According to MSN, Sussex Police Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw released the following statement: “Each time we believe we get close to the operator, the drone disappears; when we look to reopen the airfield, the drone reappears”. This has led the police to call the drone operation a deliberate act. The airport is exploring every option to reopen, but safety of passengers is the most important concern.

Final Word

This is a very unfortunate incident. For the drone operator(s) to perform such an act on one of the busiest travel weekends is asinine. I hope that the police are able to find them swiftly so they can face the full extent of the law.

featured image courtesy of the Straits Times

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