It is likely that you have seen the news or reports on social media over the last couple of days about the chaos that has been taking place at London’s Gatwick airport. Due to a drone operator (believed to be a single operator) breaking the regulations and flying over the airport, the airport has been closed for flights for most of the last two days.
Some Flights Resume at London Gatwick After 2 Days of Drone Disruption
After hundreds of flight cancellations and over 100,000 passengers affected, the UK military was called in to help track down the pilot of a drone that has wreaked havoc on the Gatwick airport since Wednesday. There had been a reported 50 sightings of a drone that is believed to have been adapted for this specific purpose. It is even estimated that the pilot/operator has extensive education in this area to have potentially made modifications to allow it to be controlled from over 5 miles away.
Current State of Search
Credit is given to the help from the military for the flights that have slowly resumed their takeoffs and landings as of this morning. One of the options that they say is at their disposal is to shoot down the drone should it reappear. This had been discouraged earlier due to the potential for stray bullets but they feel it is a safe course as of now.
Over 100,000 Passengers Disrupted
In the meantime, over 100,000 passengers have had their holiday plans disrupted and the airlines did not need to provide any type of financial compensation to passengers due to this being called an “extraordinary circumstance.” With this delay, passengers on flights that were due to land at Gatwick had been redirected to other airports and, in some cases, had to be bused in from hours away.
I sincerely hope that this situation is resolved shortly and that the operator of this drone is found and arrested. It is not joke about the damage that even a consumer drone could cause to a commercial aircraft and the airport is working to be as safety conscious as possible in light of these drone actions. I hope everyone that is traveling for this very busy weekend is able to get to their destination and still enjoy their time with families and friends.
To see a timeline and reporting on this, visit the Guardian to read more about this.