Gatwick airport closed due to drones, flights from Malta disrupted

A flight from Malta to Gatwick was cancelled Thursday, while another is delayed, after the airport was forced to close its runway due to drones flying over it

Gatwick airport's runway is closed after drones were spotted flying over it (Source: GetSurrey.co.uk)
Gatwick airport's runway is closed after drones were spotted flying over it (Source: GetSurrey.co.uk)

Flights from Malta to Gatwick are facing disruptions today after drones flying over the British airport forced its closure.

An EasyJet flight which was scheduled to leave Malta for the United Kingdom’s second-busiest airport at 12:25pm Thursday has been delayed, while a British Airways flight which was meant to depart at 1:05pm was cancelled.

Gatwick’s runway has been shut, and all flights suspended, since Wednesday night, when two drones were spotted flying over the airfield perimeter fence.

Around 110,000 passengers on 760 flights were scheduled to depart or land at the airport on Thursday morning, and about 10,000 passengers were affected on Wednesday.

British police have said that the flying of the drones over the airport was done in a “deliberate act” to shut its runway down. It is illegal to fly drones within 1km of a UK airfield boundary, and anyone caught doing so can face jail. The airport’s CEO Chris Woodroofe told BBC News that he did not know at this stage when the airport would reopened.

According to media reports, the police are still searching for the operator of the drones, and have said that they do not have reason to believe the incident is terror-related.

Passengers who were due to land in Gatwick have instead been diverted to other airports in the UK, including Manchester, Luton and Heathrow, as well as to places such as Paris and Amsterdam.

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