Published: Thu, December 20, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Flights suspended at Britain's Gatwick airport after reports of drones

Flights suspended at Britain's Gatwick airport after reports of drones

A busy airport 43km south of Britain's capital, London, Gatwick is hosting a variety of short- and long-haul flights and serving as a major hub for the budget carrier easyJet.

"Following reports of two drones flying over the Gatwick Airport airfield we have had to suspend flights while this is investigated", Gatwick Airport said in a statement late Wednesday night.

Passengers reported that some flights were diverted to other United Kingdom airports, including Birmingham, Manchester and Stansted.

Gatwick airport apologised for the suspension but said the safety of passengers was a priority.

Flying a drone within 1km of an airport or airfield boundary was made illegal in Britain at the end of July.

On social media, passengers reported being delayed on the runway for over an hour as they waited for updates from the pilot.

The runway has since reopened but passengers continue to face delays while airlines "catch up on the flight schedule", the airport said Thursday morning.

"We advise everyone flying from Gatwick, or collecting someone from the airport, Thursday 20 December, to check the status of their flight".

A spokeswoman added that airlines were working to provide affected passengers with hotel accommodation or transport for those whose flights were diverted.

The 27-year-old said passengers were then having to get taxis back to Gatwick after they were finally allowed off the aircraft. Flights were grounded and inbound planes were diverted elsewhere.

Flight tracking site Plane Finder said some flights had been put on a holding pattern over France.

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