London's Gatwick Airport completely shut after drone sightings


A police helicopter circulated the airport looking for the drones. The runway was reopened briefly last night just after 3.00am but closed again shortly afterwards.

Oana Damien said her flight has been diverted to Heathrow from Gatwick, but no one on her plane was able to disembark as there were no customs and ground handling operations in place.

A busy airport 43km south of Britain's capital, London, Gatwick is hosting a variety of short- and long-haul flights and serving as a major hub for the budget carrier easyJet.

Honor Ireland said her flight had ended up at Stansted, but her vehicle was parked at Gatwick.

In a statement, the airport said: "Following reports of two drones flying over the Gatwick Airport airfield at around 9pm, the airfield was closed from 21.03 on Wednesday 19th December to 03.01 on Thursday 20th December".

In their latest statement, Gatwick advised: "Please do not travel to the airport without checking with your airline first".

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He said there were two drones which had been seen flying "over the perimeter fence and into where the runway operates from".

Gatwick airport apologised for the suspension but said the safety of passengers was a priority.

British Airways (BA) told one customer who complained via Twitter, that Gatwick had "stopped all arrivals and departures due to a drone".

Passengers have been warned to check the status of their flights with their airlines.

The airport said it was working with Sussex Police into early Thursday to investigate and wouldn't reopen until it had "suitable reassurance".

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.