Operations at London Gatwick Airport were disrupted on Sunday after a “suspected drone” was seen close to the airfield.

“Passenger safety is the airport’s absolute priority and – following established procedures – operations at London Gatwick were suspended temporarily at 1:44pm while investigations into the sighting of a suspected drone close to the airfield took place,” said a Gatwick spokesperson. “These investigations have now [been] completed and the airfield reopened at 2.35pm. Twelve inbound aircraft were diverted to other airports during the investigation, however, we expect many of these to return to London Gatwick today.”

Gatwick was shut down in December 2018 for more than a day after several sightings in the vicinity of the airport by police officers or airport workers. More than 120,000 passengers were affected by delays and cancellations due to drones being repeatedly flown over Gatwick Airport. All flights were grounded for at least 33 hours before the Christmas getaway.

It was unclear whether the drone detection was due to a suspected visual observation of a drone or if other technology detected or was used to validate the suspected visual detection. A YouTube video posted by the London Planespotters on Sunday appeared to depict the release of silver mylar balloons near the airfield. It has not been verified whether the release of the mylar balloons is related to the incident.

From the London Planespotters YouTube channel- Whilst we were streaming today we caught what seemed to be a number of silver balloons released very close to the airport (which looked to be by mistake) less than an hour after that #Gatwick was closed as there was a hunt for a #drone was it connected? 

Post Image- Sunrise Departures from Gatwick (Photo Credit: Adobe Stock- photogoodwin)

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