Earlier in the week, as many as two drones were reportedly seen flying over Gatwick Airpor on Wednesday, December 19, and Thursday, December 20, prompting flights to be delayed and a major investigation into the incident to be kickstarted by the Sussex Police.
London’s Gatwick Airport issued a statement on Friday saying they had again suspended the runway as a “precaution” after fresh reports of a drone sighting (at around 5 pm GMT) emerged. Passengers reacted with utmost dismay and anger to the development:
Another drone stops flights! My in laws lost a day of their hols already, they are almost there now thank goodness.
— PaulineBrown (@ThePaulineBrown) December 21, 2018
“Sussex Police is supporting the airport and is proactively deploying significant resources to seek and locate the drone and its operator and to ensure the safety of the traveling public and all those in and around the airport,” Sussex Police said in a statement, adding the renewed drone activity is being investigated.
No further details on the subject were immediately reported.
By Friday morning, over 50 sightings of the unmanned devices had been registered since 9 pm on 19 December, when the airport was first closed, RTE reported, quoting Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley of Sussex Police. He reportedly stated that shooting the drone down was an option as other strategic options failed.
Per Tingley, there are “a number of factors in terms of range, the height of the drone and the likely impact on us firing at the drone but that is a tactical option open to the gold commander who will make a decision based on the information available to them at the time.”
A Gatwick Airport representative has declined to say whether the drones would be shot down, but announced that they have deployed extra measures against the drones.
One of the biggest London airports, Gatwick, reopened at 3 am local time on 20 December but closed again 45 minutes later in the wake of new drone sightings along the runway. The incident brought severe disruptions to the airport’s operations, rendering some 120,000 people unable to fly to their destinations.