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Gatwick closure could last ‘several days’

Some 120,000 travellers affected in around 24 hours

Around 120,000 flyers so far have been affected by the closure of the UK’s second busiest airport, Gatwick since Wednesday night (local time). 



The London hub’s runway was shut down after drones were repeatedly spotted flying over the airfield. 


With 110,000 passengers on 760 flights unable to fly out on Thursday alone, an airline source told the BBC the disruption could go on for “several days”. 


The airport has said the runway would not open “until it was safe to do so”.  


“Gatwick's runway will remain closed and all flights are cancelled for the rest of the evening because of continued drone sightings in and around the airfield as we continue to work with police and security partners to resolve the situation,” the airport tweeted overnight (Thursday) London time. 


“Passengers should check the status of their flight with their airline and not travel to the airport if their flight is not confirmed. We share passengers’ frustration and are grateful for their ongoing patience.” 


Image Reuters: Peter Nicholls


With incoming flights diverted to other airports in Britain and even Europe, some travellers at Gatwick were reportedly left waiting in the terminal for nearly 24 hours. 


Other passengers were stranded on the tarmac for up to six hours - without updates or information. 


According to the BBC, Gatwick chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe said around 11,000 passengers were stuck at the airport overnight Thursday, while an airport spokeswoman said extra staff had been brought in to help provide food and water to grounded travellers. 


In an unusual step, the military has been called in to help secure the airport perimeter while Sussex police track down those responsible for the “deliberate act” of disruption.


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 21 December 2018

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