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Gatwick Flights Halted Due to “Deliberate” Drone Invasion

There’s currently major disruption at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) where drones were spotted flying near the runway. This disruption began on Wednesday evening and has continued into Thursday, with the airport remaining closed. All flights to and from LGW have been suspended, with some diverted.

Services operating into and out of Gatwick Airport (LGW) have ground to a halt due to drones flying over the facility, the BBC reports. The disruption began on Wednesday evening at 9 p.m. local time when two devices were observed to be operating close to the runway area.

Despite shortly reopening in the early hours of Thursday morning, the runway was again shut after additional drones were spotted. The incident is not believed to be terror-related, but is said by the outlet to be a “deliberate act.”

Units of the British armed forces have been called in to give their support to local police while about 110,000 passengers and 760 flights have been impacted by the incident. Some services have been diverted to other British and even European airports.

LGW issued a statement on the incident on Thursday evening, advising passengers that, “All flights to and from Gatwick are suspended. If you are due to fly later today or are meeting someone from a flight, please do not travel to the airport without checking the status of your flight with your airline first.”

“Gatwick Airport’s runway remains unavailable because of continued drone sightings and some airlines have canceled all flights. There is significant disruption at Gatwick today as a result of what appears to be a deliberate attempt to disrupt flights, and we anticipate disruption to continue into tomorrow,” it added.

The airport stated that, “We are extremely disappointed that passengers are being affected by this especially at such an important time of year. We are working with our airlines to put plans in place to recover our operations once given the go ahead to re-open our runway. We are prioritizing the welfare of those at the airport by deploying staff into our terminals to look after people as best we can.”

The airport has reiterated that safety is its first priority in dealing with the incident.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Dalo December 30, 2018

There is a fairly simple and effective method to bring down trouble some drones with another drone . You will need a drone with the speed and altitude matching the target drone . Have one to two meters of twine dangling below the fans of your drone . Fly your drone over the other and let the twine get tangled in it's blades . This may not be suitable for Gatwick or other airports since it will not cost several million dollars .

December 21, 2018

To what extent, if any does EC 261 impact this event? I'm guessing the monetary compensation part isn't considered since it was outside the control of the airline (and the airport) for that matter. OTOH, an argument could be made that the airline offered pax a duty of care in ensuring they had a hotel and what not. Thoughts?