Flight operations at Europe’s busiest single runway airport have been suspended due to drone activity in the area.
Suspended flight operations
Throughout the night and into the morning of 20th December, numerous drones were spotted flying ‘in an organised manner’ within the airspace of London’s Gatwick Airport. As a result, the airport closed at 2100 on the 19th December, and remains closed until at least 2200 (UTC) on the 20th, according to Eurocontrol and the airport operator.
17:00 Our runway remains out of operation with no flights arriving or departing. We're sorry for the ongoing disruption to your travel plans and will update again here when we have more information.
— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) December 20, 2018
UK law stipulates that it is illegal to fly a drone within 1km of the boundary of a UK airport. The National Police Air Service have been assisting in the search for those responsible. Flying a drone in breach of airspace regulations carries a five year prison sentence in the UK.
Chinese drone manufacturer DJI has offered help to British authorities.
In a statement, the airport operator of London Gatwick says approximately 110,000 passengers are affected by flight disruptions. Flights scheduled to arrive at Gatwick today have been cancelled or diverted to alternate airports.
Low-cost carrier EasyJet has cancelled all flights to and from Gatwick Airport on Thursday.
Matt is a Berlin-based writer and reporter for International Flight Network. Originally from London, he has been involved in aviation from a very young age and has a particular focus on aircraft safety, accidents and technical details.