On Sunday, operations at Gatwick Airport were temporarily suspended after a suspected drone was spotted close to the airfield. According to a spokesperson for the airport, the suspension occurred just before 13:45 BST and lasted for around 50 minutes. Twelve inbound aircraft were diverted to other airports during the incident, but many were expected to return to Gatwick on Sunday.
It is worth noting that Gatwick Airport had been closed for over a day in December 2018 after a series of drone sightings. The incident caused chaos for travellers, with over 1,000 flights affected and around 140,000 passengers impacted. No-one was ever prosecuted over the drone incident.
Since then, experts have been working on systems to prevent drones from disrupting operations at major airports. A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport stated that passenger safety is the airport’s priority, and following established procedures, operations at London Gatwick were suspended temporarily at 13:44 while investigations into the sighting of a suspected drone close to the airfield took place.
After investigations had been completed, the airfield reopened at 14:35. British Airways reported that the disruption had affected one of its flights, which landed at Stansted before refuelling and returning to Gatwick.