Airport authorities at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) have warned that the runway will remain closed until at least 19:00 (local time) on Thursday, December 20, due to continued drone sightings in the area. Easyjet has canceled all flights at LGW scheduled for Thursday and other airlines may take similar measures. Around 110,000 passengers on 760 flights were reportedly scheduled to fly in or out of LGW on December 20, and around 11,000 people were reportedly stranded at LGW as of Thursday afternoon. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on Thursday that the military has been 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. It is possible that the runway will remain closed after 19:00 if the drones continue to appear around LGW. Significant residual delays are 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. Around 10,000 passengers were affected by the runway closure on Wednesday. Multiple incoming flights have been diverted to other regional airports since Wednesday evening, including Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, and Southend.
Individuals flying through London, particularly LGW, are advised to monitor the situation, confirm the status of their flight, and anticipate flight disruptions.