Gatwick’s Airport’s airfield is currently closed for safety reasons which is causing major disruption to air travellers ahead of the Christmas getaway following reports of drone activity in the immediate vicinity.
First reports came in last night at around 9pm of two drones flying over the Gatwick Airport airfield, the airfield was closed from 9.03pm Wednesday, December 19 to 3.01 am on Thursday, December 20.
Further sighting of drones in the area of the airport meant that the runway was closed again at 3.45am on Thursday, December 20, and the airport authorities alongside Sussex Police continue to investigate.
A Gatwick spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, this has led to a number of flights being diverted to other airports and all flight arrivals and departures are currently suspended from Gatwick. If you are due to fly from Gatwick today, we strongly advise you not to come to the airport unless you have checked the status of your flight with your airline.’
The major travel disruption affecting thousands of passengers comes as the airport gears up for 2.9 million festive travellers who are expected to travel through Gatwick during festive period.
A Sussex Police spokesman says: “Police at Gatwick Airport are continuing to assist airport security teams following a number of reports and sightings of drones in the vicinity of the airfield overnight on Wednesday and Thursday.’
“The first report was made shortly after 21:00 GMT. Officers were deployed on to the airfield and surrounding areas and were joined by a National Police Air Service helicopter in seeking the drones and the operators.”
If you are meeting someone from a flight you are advised to check Gatwick’s live flight information for up-to-date news about that flight, while passengers are told to not travel to the airport without checking with their airline first.
A Gatwick spokesperson added: “Our airlines are working to provide affected passengers with hotel accommodation or transport passengers landing at other airports to Gatwick by other means, and Gatwick staff are looking after passengers in our terminals.’
“We apologise to any affected passengers for this inconvenience, but the safety of our passengers and all staff is our number one priority.”