Gatwick Airport partially re-opens amid drone woes

Posted: 21 December 2018 | | No comments yet

Gatwick Airport’s runway partly re-opens after more than 33 hours of being closed, which left more than 350,000 passengers stranded.


Gatwick Airport has released a statement after the runway resumes limited services to try and clear the back-log of passengers that the delays have stranded. 

They said: “Gatwick’s runway is currently available having reopened at 06:00. A limited number of aircraft are taking off and landing at Gatwick this morning but our departures and arrivals rate is currently very restricted to just a few runway movements every hour so passengers must expect delays and cancellations again today. Gatwick continues to strongly advise passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport. 

“Overnight we have been able to work with partners, including Government agencies and the Military to put measures in place which have provided the confidence we needed to re-open the runway and ensure the safety of passengers, which remains our priority.

“We continue to provide welfare and information to all disrupted passengers who are at the airport and have had teams in throughout the night. Our priority today is to get our operation back on track so that people can be where they need to be for Christmas, and we will update as more information becomes available throughout the day.”

The CAA released a statement explaining the rights of passengers who have been affected by the delays. 

They said: “The CAA is offering the following advice to passengers currently experiencing disruption at Gatwick Airport. Under EU261 regulations, passengers that no longer wish to take their flight can contact their airline for a refund. For those passengers that do still wish to fly, we advise them to contact their airline to understand the options available. Given the reasons for the current disruption at Gatwick Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority considers this event to be an extraordinary circumstance. In such circumstances airlines are not obliged to pay financial compensation to passengers affected by the disruption.”

Speaking to Sky News Steve Barry from Sussex Police said: “We’re in a much better position to respond to sightings of the drone.” 

Supt Justin Burtenshaw, Head of Armed Policing for Sussex and Surrey, said: “Each time we believe we get close to the operator, the drone disappears; when we look to reopen the airfield, the drone reappears.” He urged the public calling in to offer leads that they should be “focused on the identity or location of the drone operator”.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said there was no evidence it was terror-related, but he did say that this disruption is unlike any seen before. He said the situation was “unprecedented, anywhere in the world” and “every possible measure will be put in place to make sure this can’t happen again”, he added.

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