- Video footage shows one of the drones that caused the closure of Gatwick Airport, near London, for more than 32 hours.
- More than 120,000 people had their travel disrupted when the runway was closed, and more delays and cancelations are expected.
- Police have not found the drones or the operators, but the airport said additional measures were in place in case drones reappear.
A video shows one of the drones that resulted in the closure of one of the UK’s largest airports for more than 32 hours, affecting more than 120,000 people whose flights were canceled, delayed, or diverted.
Gatwick Airport, near London, was closed at 9 p.m. on Wednesday after airport staff reported seeing drones over the runway.
MailOnline, the website of the Daily Mail newspaper, published footage of what it said was one of the drones hovering over Gatwick during the shutdown:
The front page of the newspaper on Friday had an image of the drone over the runway:
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) December 20, 2018
The airport reopened on Friday. Gatwick received its first international flight at 6 a.m., more than 32 hours after the runway was closed.
About 110,000 people were booked on flights on Thursday that were canceled, while 10,000 passengers were affected on Wednesday night. Several people were left sleeping on the floor of the terminals.
Gatwick said that two separate drones had been seen, but MailOnline suggested that most of the disruption seemed to come from a single one, shown in the footage.
Police have not found the drones or the operators. They have said little publicly about who could be behind the incident but have suggested that an environmental protest is “a possibility,” according to the BBC.
Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick’s chief operating officer, told the BBC that the airport had put in place additional protective measures if a drone appears, though he did not specify what they were.
UK officials said on Thursday that the police were not attempting to shoot at the drones for fear that a stray bullet could hit somebody or have other consequences.
Woodroofe told the BBC on Friday that he could not comment on whether the police would try to shoot down a drone if it reappeared.
Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry told the BBC on Friday that the police were still investigating and “made a lot of progress overnight.”
About 700 flights are expected to depart from Gatwick on Friday, should there be no more drone sightings, Woodroofe said.
But airlines have said they expect disruptions to continue and advised passengers to check the status of their flights online.
Woodroofe described the disruption as “unprecedented” and said airports needed to work with governments and tech companies on solutions in case this happens again.
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling echoed Woodroofe’s sentiment, telling the BBC on Friday that “this kind of incident is unprecedented anywhere in the world, the disruption of an airport in this way.”
He said he would meet with other UK airports “quickly” about ensuring that this does not happen again, adding that other airports would be patrolled on Friday to make sure there are no similar incidents.
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