Airport authorities at London's Gatwick Airport (LGW) have warned that the runway will remain closed and all flights will be canceled for the rest of the evening (local time) on Thursday, December 20, due to continued drone sightings in the area. Over 800 flights have been canceled since two drones were first sighted in and around the airfield on Wednesday night, December 19, affecting over 100,000 passengers. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on Thursday that the military would be deployed to LGW to assist in stopping the drone activity. According to police officials, the activity is not terror related but is being used to deliberately disrupt airport operations.
Airport authorities have advised individuals planning on flying via LGW on Thursday night or Friday, December 21, to not travel to the airport if their flight is not confirmed. Further drone activity over LGW in the coming hours is likely to result in additional flight disruptions; moreover, a significant number of flight delays and cancelations are to be expected over the coming hours and days as airlines work to clear backlogs during this already busy holiday travel period.
The runway at LGW was closed at approximately 21:00 on Wednesday, December 19, after two drones were spotted over the airfield. Multiple incoming flights have been diverted to other regional airports since Wednesday evening, including Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, and Southend.
Individuals flying via LGW are advised to confirm the status of their flight, refrain from traveling to the airport unless their flight is confirmed, and anticipate continuing flight disruptions (e.g. delays and cancelations). Refer to LGW's website for the latest information on the situation and consequent flight disruptions.
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