How the drone events at Gatwick have unfolded
The airport shut at 9pm on Wednesday night when the first drone report was made.
After a drone caused chaos for tens of thousands of passengers at Gatwick Airport, we look at how the events have unfolded so far.
Wednesday December 19
9pm – Gatwick suspends flights in and out of the airport after reports of two drones flying near the airfield. Some planes are diverted to other airports.
Thursday December 20
3am – The runway reopens
3.45am – The runway shuts again after a further report of drone sightings
10.20am – Sussex Police reveal the flying of drones close to the airfield is “a deliberate act to disrupt the airport”, but “there are absolutely no indications to suggest this is terror related”
12.20pm – The airport’s chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe says around 110,000 passengers are due to travel on Thursday, most of whom will see cancellations and disruptions.
3.50pm – The Ministry of Defence says police are in “ongoing discussions” with the Army about assisting with the operation to find the drones.
5.50pm – Gatwick’s chief executive officer Stewart Wingate says the drone flights are “highly targeted” and have “been designed to close the airport and bring maximum disruption in the run up to Christmas”.
“On behalf of everyone at Gatwick I would like to repeat how sorry we are for the inconvenience this criminal behaviour has caused passengers..." Read the full statement from our CEO, Stewart Wingate. https://t.co/M47tA37itJ pic.twitter.com/FB5nHOlHe5— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) December 20, 2018
9.30pm – Mr Woodroofe says the airport will remain closed for the rest of the evening after drone activity was reported “within the last hour”.
9.30pm – Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley, of Sussex Police, says there have been more than 50 sightings of the device in the past 24 hours. He reveals that shooting down the drone is a “tactical option” being considered by police.
Friday December 21
5.58am – According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, a plane from East Midlands Airport lands at Gatwick.
6.30am – Gatwick Airport says the runway is “currently available” and that a “limited number” of planes are scheduled for departure and arrival.