Drone sightings ground planes at major British airport

Anna Jefferson
December 20, 2018

Richard Hargreaves' easyJet flight was redirected to Birmingham, with those on board waiting to fly back to Gatwick.

Passengers traveling Thursday were advised to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport.

Under British legislation, drones can not be flown near aircraft or airports, or at an altitude of over 400 feet (122 metres).

London's Gatwick airport temporarily halted flight operations on Wednesday (Dec 19) night after reports of two drones flying over the airfield.

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"We apologise to any affected passengers for this inconvenience but the safety of our passengers is our foremost priority".

There were multiple reports of drone sightings since the initial report of two drones at 9.03pm local time on Wednesday (Thursday 5.03am, Singapore time), Gatwick said in an earlier statement.

Gatwick Airport said airlines were "working to provide affected passengers with hotel accommodation" or provide alternative travel options.

"Passengers due to take off reported planes being stuck on the Tarmac for more than an hour", the publication added.

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According to Flight Radar, more than two dozen flights bound for Gatwick had been diverted by 11pm.

The statement read: "Due to drone activity on the airfield at Gatwick, all arriving and departing flights are now suspended".

One traveller whose flight was diverted tweeted that passengers were not being told when they could continue to their destination. "We hope the crew keeps you updated".

"Unfortunately, this incident has led to a number of flights being diverted to other airports and delays to flights departing from Gatwick". Got a free can of Coke and Pringles.

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