Gatwick Airport flights diverted after reported drone activity near runway

Rich Higgins /

London-Gatwick Airport (LGW) was forced to divert incoming flights after both runways were temporarily closed on May 14, 202 in order to investigate suspected drone activity. 

LGW’s airlift was closed from 13:44 to 14:35 local time, and a total of 12 incoming flights were diverted to Stansted Airport (STN), Southend Airport (SEN), Luton Airport (LTN), London-Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Bristol Airport (BRS).

“Passenger safety is the airport’s absolute priority and – following established procedures – operations at London Gatwick were suspended temporarily while investigations into the sighting of a suspected drone close to the airfield took place. These investigations are now completed and the airfield reopened,” a Gatwick Airport spokesperson told various UK media outlets.

Though the investigation has closed, the culprit has not been identified.

According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, drone pilots are not allowed to fly their drones within 5km of any UK airport or above 400ft in the air.

In December 2018, drone chaos at LGW airport cost the budget airline easyJet at least £15 million ($19.4 million).

Mass sightings of drones encroaching LGW airport over the airfield and the single runway during the month caused the cancellation of over 1000 flights and is said to have affected more than 140,000 passengers.

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