Thousands of passengers affected as drone causes Gatwick runway closure

PA

Ten thousand passengers have suffered flight chaos after the runway at Gatwick Airport was closed due to drones being flown nearby.

Flights in and out of the UK’s second busiest airport were suspended at about 9pm on Wednesday after two of the devices were seen near the West Sussex airfield.

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Gatwick announced the runway had reopened at about 3am on Thursday, but 45 minutes later it was shut again after a further sighting of drones.

Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick’s chief operating officer, said drones had been spotted over the airport as late as 7am on Thursday.

The scene inside a plane from Kiev after it landed at Birmingham having been diverted from Gatwick
The scene inside a plane from Kiev after it landed at Birmingham having been diverted from Gatwick

He blasted the “irresponsible” act, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that 10,000 people had been affected by the closure, including 2,000 whose flights had been unable to take off.

He said two drones had been seen flying “over the perimeter fence and into where the runway operates from”.