Gatwick Airport: Drone sightings halt flights

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The airport warned the disruption was expected to continue into Thursday and advised everyone flying or collecting someone from Gatwick to check the status of their flight.

"Our focus is now on working, with the airport community, to catch up on the flight schedule", the airport spokesman said. However, the airfield only reopened for a mere 44 minutes before being closed again after a further sighting of the drones.

There have since been more reported sightings of drones, with Gatwick forced to wait for reassurance from the police as to when opening the runway is safe.

The runway at Gatwick remains closed on Thursday morning following reports of drones flying close to the airport - despite briefly reopening overnight.

"We apologise to any affected passengers for this inconvenience but the safety of our passengers is our foremost priority". We hope the crew keeps you updated'.

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According to the BBC, "Two of the unmanned devices were reportedly spotted near a runway, leading to delays and diversions as flights were suspended".

While most nations prohibit drones from flying in pathways reserved for airliners, the millions of small consumer devices that have been purchased around the world can't be tracked on radar, making it hard for the authorities to enforce the rules.

British Airways (BA) told one customer who complained via Twitter, that Gatwick had "stopped all arrivals and departures due to a drone".

The air traffic control tower at Gatwick Airport is seen through fields in southern England, Britain, October 9, 2016.

Gatwick is 50km south of London and competes with Europe's busiest airport, Heathrow, 32km west of London. "Our airlines have been working to provide affected passengers with hotel accommodation or transport passengers landing at other airports to Gatwick by other means", the statement said.