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Gatwick drone chaos hits Jersey travellers

Gatwick drone chaos hits Jersey travellers

Thursday 20 December 2018

Gatwick drone chaos hits Jersey travellers

Thursday 20 December 2018

Jersey flights to and from Gatwick have been caught up in chaos at the London airport, after two drones were spotted flying in its airspace.

Several flights have already been cancelled at Jersey Airport with further warnings of delays, threatening travel plans for those hoping to get to the island – or leave it – over the Christmas break.

Thousands of passengers travelling via the major London airport have been facing disruption since yesterday evening when two drones seen over the airfield triggered a major security alert. 

In an update this morning, Gatwick officials said in a statement: “All flights to and from Gatwick are suspended due to ongoing drone activity around the airport. Unfortunately, there are significant delays and cancellations to all flights today.

“Please do not travel to the airport without checking the status of your flight with your airline first. We apologise to everyone affected, but the safety of all our passengers and staff is our no. 1 priority.”

Amid the international flight chaos that has ensued, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in the airport terminal while they await further news, Channel Islands travellers have also been hit.

So far, flights leaving the island that have been cancelled include those scheduled for 07:05, 09:20, 13:45, 14:00, 16:55, and 17:40.

Meanwhile, flights that were expected to arrive in Jersey at 08:35, 13:00, 13:30, 16:20 and 17:00 have also been cancelled.

Guernsey travellers have also been affected, with airline Aurigny, which operates flights between the island and Gatwick, writing in a statement: “We understand the importance of getting our customers to their planned destinations, especially at this time of year, and have already implemented an alternative route. 

“We are now refocussing our operation to Southampton and our morning customers have already departed to this destination, with a planned return from Southampton at lunchtime… We will continue to monitor the situation and anticipate further rotations to Southampton later today if Gatwick remains closed.”

When the security alert was issued, the runway in Gatwick was immediately closed. It briefly reopened early this morning, but when drones were once again seen over the airfield, travel was stopped.

jersey airport_1937_building.jpg

Pictured: Jersey passengers have also been affected by the Gatwick drone chaos.

Aircraft were left loaded on the runway waiting for an opportunity to offload passengers or take off, and so many flights were initially diverted to Stansted that it is no longer an option.

As of 08:00 this morning, police around Gatwick had 20 units from two different forces hunting the pilot, but they said it would be too dangerous to shoot down the drones because of what may happen to "stray bullets".

Sussex Police are helping with the investigation, and this morning issued an appeal for information to identify the operators of the drones.

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