The drone attack that caused chaos at Gatwick before Christmas was carried out by someone with knowledge of the airport's operational procedures, the airport has said. A Gatwick chief told BBC Panorama the drone's pilot "seemed to be able to see what was happening on the runway". Sussex Police told the programme the possibility an "insider" was involved was a "credible line" of inquiry. About 140,000 passengers were caught up in the disruption. The runway at the UK's second busiest airport was closed for 33 hours between 19 and 21 December last year - causing about 1,000 flights to be cancelled or delayed.
The Army used a cutting-edge Israeli anti-drone system to defeat the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that brought misery to hundreds of thousands of people at Gatwick airport. The British Army bought six'Drone Dome' systems for £15.8 million in 2018 and the technology is used in Syria to destroy ISIS UAVs. Police had been seen on Thursday with an off-the-shelf DJI system that tracks drones made by that manufacturer and shows officers where the operator is (DJI is the most popular commercial drone brand.) However, the drone used at Gatwick is thought to have been either hacked or an advanced non-DJI drone, which rendered the commercial technology used by the police useless. At that point, the Army's'Drone Dome' system made by Rafael was called in.
The Army has deployed "specialist equipment" to Gatwick Airport as the travel chaos caused by drone activity shows no sign of abating. It comes as Easyjet has cancelled all of its flights from Gatwick for the rest of the day. The airline, the biggest operator at the airport, said there was "no indication" when Gatwick would reopen. Tens of thousands of passengers on several airlines have been disrupted by drones flying over the airport. In a tweet, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson had confirmed the military deployment.
Gatwick's runway has reopened after drones caused the airport to shut down for more than a day. The airport, the UK's second busiest, said 837 flights were scheduled but there were delays and cancellations. Boss Chris Woodroofe said "mitigating measures" from the government and military had given him "confidence to reopen". The drone operator is still at large and police said it was possible they were an environmental activist. The airport is expected to be "back to normal" by the end of Saturday.
Drones spotted over the UK's second-busiest airport have halted flights for hours, heavily disrupting the holiday travel of tens of thousands of passengers. Flights at London's Gatwick airport currently can't take off or land, and airport authorities have said that 110,000 passengers on 760 flights are scheduled to fly today. The delays have been ongoing since yesterday evening, and though operations briefly resumed at around 3 AM, they were halted about an hour later when the drone was spotted again. Two drones were spotted flying "over the perimeter fence and where the runway operates from," Airport operating chief Chris Woodroofe told BBC News. He condemned the "irresponsible" actions of the drone operators, saying it could take days for normal operations to resume at the airport's busiest time of the year.