Flights delayed as main runway at Gatwick Airport closed
The main runway at one of the UK's busiest airports has been closed.
Flights were forced to circle the skies above Gatwick Airport for 10 minutes, after it was forced to open its alternative runway at around 7.40pm on Sunday.
The closure was a "precautionary measure" after something was discovered on the runway during an inspection, an airport spokeswoman said.
Approximately eight aircraft were diverted and several flights were delayed.
Gatwick is a single-runway airport, but has a second runway on site, which is only used when the main runway is unavailable.
An airport spokeswoman said: "This evening at 19:40, Gatwick had to switch operations from its usual southern runway to its stand-in northern runway, as a precautionary measure, following findings during one of our regular maintenance checks.
"During this change over we had a period of approximately 10 minutes when the airport was unable to accept landing aircraft, resulting in approximately eight aircraft being diverted, and delays to flights.
"We would like to apologise to any passengers impacted by this but the safety of our passengers is our number one priority. We are working hard to resume usual operations and get our passengers on their way."
A number of passengers tweeted their confusion after discovering their flights had been diverted to a different airport.
One user, tweeting under the name Isobel, said: "Major turbulence the whole plane journey home and then we're diverted to an airport miles away from Gatwick because the runways shut".
Marie Leonard tweeted: " What's happening @Gatwick_Airport tonight? Our flight has been diverted".
Another passenger using the name Charla wrote: "flight delayed then diverted to Southampton because all runways at Gatwick are closed... great".