'Suspected drone' disrupts Gatwick Airport flights

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An aeroplane taking off at Gatwick AirportImage source, REUTERS/Toby Melville
Image caption,
The airport suffered major disruption in 2018 after drone sightings

Operations at Gatwick Airport were disrupted after a suspected drone was seen close to the airfield.

A spokesman for the airport in West Sussex said operations were suspended temporarily just before13:45 BST but resumed about 50 minutes later.

He said 12 inbound aircraft were diverted to other airports during the incident but many were expected to return to Gatwick on Sunday.

Gatwick was shut for more than a day in December 2018 after drone sightings.

No-one was ever prosecuted over the incident that caused chaos for travellers, affecting more than 1,000 flights and about 140,000 passengers.

Inbound flights diverted

Since then, experts have been working on systems to prevent drones disrupting operations at major airports.

A spokesman for Gatwick said: "Passenger safety is the airport's absolute priority and - following established procedures - operations at London Gatwick were suspended temporarily at 13:44, while investigations into the sighting of a suspected drone close to the airfield took place.

"These investigations have now completed and the airfield reopened at 14:35."

British Airways said the disruption affected one of its flights, which landed at Stansted before refuelling and returning to Gatwick.

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