Economy

Drones on airfield prompt UKs Gatwick Airport to pause operations

Drones on airfield prompt UKs Gatwick Airport to pause operations

Flights into Gatwick Airport, south of London, were diverted to other cities across the country while passengers waiting to take off faced long delays just days ahead of Christmas, the UK's Press Association news agency reported.

All departures and arrivals were suspended at about 9pm last night after the drones were seen flying above the airport.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Gatwick said it was focusing on working with the airport community to catch up on the flight schedule.

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

"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", the airport said.

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Kasia Jaworska told the BBC she had been travelling from Glasgow to Gatwick with her boyfriend when her flight was diverted to Luton. It also advised anyone planning to pick up arriving passengers to check first.

The Civil Aviation Authority's "Drone Code" says users must not fly their remote-controlled aerial devices near airports or airfields, or close to aircraft. - 18 to 20 during the winter months, according to its website.

There have been occasional reports of drones almost hitting commercial airliners in the London area in recent years.

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

Strong sales of small consumer drones have led to repeated warnings about a possible threat to scheduled flights.


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