Army called in as Gatwick Airport chaos continues

Army called in as Gatwick Airport chaos continues

Army called in as Gatwick Airport chaos continues

People wait near the departures gate at Gatwick airport, near London, as the airport remains closed with incoming flights delayed or diverted to other airports, after drones were spotted over the airfield last night and this morning.

Passengers wait for announcements at Gatwick South Terminal on Thursday, Dec. 20.

It left stranded travellers - and the public at large - wondering.

Gavin Williamson, secretary of state for defence of the United Kingdom, said: "We will be deploying the armed forces to give them [Sussex Police] the help that they need to help deal with the situation at Gatwick Airport".

Night-flight restrictions will be lifted at other airports - probably those which serve London - so that "more planes can get in to and out of the country".

Gatwick, around 30 miles (50 kilometres) south of the British capital, is the eighth-busiest airport in Europe and sits behind Mumbai as the world's busiest single runway air hub.

On Thursday a Gatwick spokesperson said passengers should not come to the airport "for the foreseeable future including tomorrow" when even more holidaymakers have travel plans.

The airport said flights would remain shut down until further notice on a day when 115,000 people were scheduled to pass through, many en route to seasonal breaks. "Unfortunately, there are significant delays and cancellations to all flights", the airport said.

"Apologies for the residents affected, but it's right and proper that we try and sort people's Christmases out", Mr Grayling told Sky News.

"Any passengers due to fly today or tomorrow should not set off for Gatwick without checking flight information with their airline".

Two drones were first spotted flying over Gatwick at around 9:00 pm (2100 GMT) on Wednesday.

Flights eventually resumed at around 3:00 a.m. local time on Thursday, according to the Guardian, but the airport wrote on Twitter almost two hours later that further sightings of the drones had forced them to again close the runway.

Mr Wingate said: "This is a highly targeted activity which has been created to close the airport and bring maximum disruption in the run-up to Christmas".

"We are still not in a position to say when it will be safe to reopen the airport", he added in a statement Thursday evening.

Woodroofe says to do that though is not an option, as "the police advice is that it would be unsafe to seek to shoot the drone down because of what may happen to the stray bullets".

Sussex Police said they believed that the devices "are of an industrial specification".

Could the incident be terror-related?

Airport vehicles stand on the closed runway at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018.

"We're meeting family and it's my daughter's birthday today so it's gone all wrong".

"They require a lot of space and food and changing and all that, and the airport is insane busy so it's challenging", she told Reuters by phone among thousands camped in the terminal.

"Everyone's trying to get home for Christmas".

"We will continue to work with the Gatwick authorities and police will be order to bring this to a close", she said at a press conference in London.

Transport minister Chris Grayling said it was clearly a deliberate act.

"We understand it's an emergency situation, but the lack of information is really surprising", said Vanessa Avila, an American based in Britain who works for the USA military. "The queue looks like it's several hours long, so we could be here for some time".

Under a new British law, drones can not be flown near aircraft or within a kilometre of an airport, or at an altitude of over 400 feet (122 metres).

Dr Peter Lee, director of the Security and Risk research theme at the university, said that after years of discussions about how hard it would be to stop incidents like this happening, the recent occurrences were inevitable. And we're consulting on further aspects of this including further police powers.

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