Thursday, 20 December 2018

Drones cause over 22 flights to divert and scores delayed at London Gatwick Airport.

Two drones flying over and around London Gatwick Airport have caused havoc tonight, Wednesday, December 19th. The two flying drones were spotted around 2100 and as a precaution, flights at the airport have been suspended.

Two of the unmanned devices were reportedly spotted near a runway, which instantly caused an alert for the airport who grounded flights.  More than 24 flights have had to be diverted away from the Sussex airport, some as far as Manchester and Birmingham. Many flights on the ground have been delayed. In some cases, where flights were waiting on the tarmac ready to depart have had to wait for over an hour.

The airport said it was investigating but warned passengers the disruption might well continue into Thursday.  Whilst it apologised for any inconvenience it said but also confirmed that safety of its passengers and staff was its "foremost priority".

Many passengers both on aircraft in the UK and around Europe as well as those waiting at the airport have criticised and condemned the staff and management of Gatwick Airport for not being very communicative. Many reported being left waiting for information for more than an hour, the airport left the same post on its social media and ignored those asking questions. Leaving information desks unmanned and removing terminal staff from public-facing positions to office roles.

Many other passengers have taken to social media to complain about the lack of information given out either by the airport operators or the airlines. Others have posted videos or pictures of what they believe to be one of the drones over the airfield. 
Passengers on a Thomson flight TOM687 that was diverted to London Stansted had to endure more hell as some of their fellow passengers became aggressive and abusive. One managed to open an exit endangering all onboard as the aircraft was still on a life taxiway with the engines running. Another passenger is said to have claimed to be a terrorist. Local airport police had to be called and boarded to the aircraft to speak to the offending passengers.
Gatwick finally reopened for arrivals and departures just after 0300 on Thursday, November 20th after being closed for around 6 hours, with thousands of passengers travel plans disrupted.