Gatwick drone fears spark flight chaos as flights diverted to Stansted after ‘near miss’

FLIGHTS were diverted from London’s Gatwick airport to Stansted yesterday amid reports of a drone in the area.

At least four flights into Gatwick faced delays as result of the worrying report.

Disgruntled passengers on a diverted easyJet flight from Amsterdam this afternoon
Disgruntled passengers on a diverted easyJet flight from Amsterdam this afternoon

Passengers travelling from Amsterdam and Barcelona into the West Sussex airport were diverted.

A flight from Heraklion in Greece that was due to land at 4:23pm yesterday was also diverted to Stansted.

The captain told those onboard the easyJet flight from Amsterdam that a plane had been in “close proximity” to a drone.

Another easyJet flight from Berlin was diverted to the Essex airport before refuelling and heading back to Gatwick.

A representative for Gatwick said the pilot of one of the disrupted flights reported a sighting of a drone.

But nothing was picked up on radar or on the airport’s anti-drone systems.

A full assessment took place around 4:05pm and all the diverted flights began returning to Gatwick.

Passengers took to social media to complain about the disruption.

One Twitter user claimed her son was not allowed to leave the plane after being diverted.

Another passenger said they landed into Stansted first but the plane later turned around and flew to Gatwick.

A holidaymaker on another flight into the West Sussex airport said it was delayed by 20 minutes because of reports of a drone.

The runway was said to be closed temporarily but the plane was eventually able to land as planned.

Another said they were delayed for 15 minutes going into Gatwick.

A Gatwick spokesperson said: “Gatwick investigated a report of an unconfirmed sighting of an object outside the airport’s 5KM exclusion zone today but – following a full assessment – the airport has remained fully operational throughout.”

Between 19 and 21 December 2018, hundreds of flights were cancelled at Gatwick Airport, following reports of drone sightings close to the runway.

The reports caused major disruption, affecting approximately 140,000 passengers and 1,000 flights.


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