Friday 19 July 2019

Timeline: How the drone chaos at Gatwick Airport unfolded

Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Passengers stranded at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Passengers sleeping at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Passengers sleeping at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Passengers stranded queue for information at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
People wait in the departures area at Gatwick airport . (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
People wait in the departures area at Gatwick airport (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Ellie Cullen

After a drone caused chaos for tens of thousands of passengers at Gatwick Airport, we look at how the events have unfolded so far.

Wednesday December 19

9pm - Gatwick suspends flights in and out of the airport after reports of two drones flying near the airfield. Some planes are diverted to other airports.

Thursday December 20

3am - The runway reopens

3.45am - The runway shuts again after a further report of drone sightings

10.20am - Sussex Police reveal the flying of drones close to the airfield is "a deliberate act to disrupt the airport", but "there are absolutely no indications to suggest this is terror related"

12.20pm - The airport's chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe says around 110,000 passengers are due to travel on Thursday, most of whom will see cancellations and disruptions.

Passengers sleeping at Gatwick airport
Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Passengers sleeping at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Stranded passengers are seen sleeping at Gatwick Airport, Britain, December 20, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Ani Kochiashvili/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Passengers sleeping at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
No fly zone: Passengers caught in the Gatwick chaos wait for more information. Picture: Getty
The Arrivals Board at Gatwick airport which has been closed after drones were spotted over the airfield Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Passengers stranded at Gatwick airport which has been closed after drones were spotted over the airfield Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Passengers stranded at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Passengers stranded queue for information at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Sussex Police Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley speaking to the media at Gatwick airport Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
A woman waits in the departures area at Gatwick airport, near London, as the airport remains closed with incoming flights delayed or diverted to other airports, after drones were spotted over the airfield last night and this morning, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. London's Gatwick Airport remained shut during the busy holiday period Thursday while police and airport officials investigate reports that drones were flying in the area of the airfield. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
People wait in the departures area at Gatwick airport . (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
FILE PHOTO dated 16/1/2016 of Gatwick airport which remains closed this morning after drones were spotted over the airfield last night and this morning. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
People wait in the departures area at Gatwick airport (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Gatwick airport remains closed this morning after drones were spotted over the airfield last night and this morning Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Picture taken with permission from the Twitter feed of Luke Mccomiskie showing the scene inside a plane three hours after it landed at Manchester having been diverted from Gatwick Airport which had been closed because of the sighting of drones. Photo: Luke Mccomiskie/PA Wire

3.50pm - The Ministry of Defence says police are in "ongoing discussions" with the Army about assisting with the operation to find the drones.

5.50pm - Gatwick's chief executive officer Stewart Wingate says the drone flights are "highly targeted" and have "been designed to close the airport and bring maximum disruption in the run up to Christmas".

9.30pm - Mr Woodroofe says the airport will remain closed for the rest of the evening after drone activity was reported "within the last hour".

9.30pm - Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley, of Sussex Police, says there have been more than 50 sightings of the device in the past 24 hours. He reveals that shooting down the drone is a "tactical option" being considered by police.

Friday December 21

5.58am - According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, a plane from East Midlands Airport lands at Gatwick.

6.30am - Gatwick Airport says the runway is "currently available" and that a "limited number" of planes are scheduled for departure and arrival.

· 06:49 GATWICK REOPENS FOR SOME FLIGHTS AS AIRPORT WORKS TO UNRAVEL DRONE CHAOS

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