Gatwick Airport: NI passengers hit by drones chaos

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The runway at Gatwick AirportImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The runway at Gatwick Airport has been shut since Wednesday night

An incident involving drones at Gatwick Airport that has caused travel chaos for thousands of people has affected flights to and from Northern Ireland.

The runway was closed throughout Thursday night, but reopened on Friday.

Gatwick chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe said on Thursday: "We will review overnight whether there is any potential to open tomorrow."

EasyJet is the only airline which flies between Northern Ireland and Gatwick.

The runway had been shut since Wednesday night, when drones were seen flying over the perimeter fence.

EasyJet had to cancel several flights on its route to and from Belfast International Airport on Thursday and Friday.

A police search for those operating the unmanned aircraft is continuing.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Thousands of passengers have had their travel plans disrupted

Kathryn Wilson and her family from Northern Ireland were intending to travel to Barbados for Christmas and have faced a long wait in the airport's terminal.

She said it was difficult to walk around the many people who were lying on the ground in the Gatwick terminal.

"I think a lot of the staff don't know what's going on," she told BBC News NI.

"We keep asking for updates - the screens where we're sitting haven't changed all morning."

Image source, Kathryn Wilson
Image caption,
Kathryn Wilson says there has been a lack of information for passengers

Cameron Murphy, a student at Queen's University in Belfast, was trying to get home from Belfast International Airport to England for Christmas.

"It's just annoying - it's inconsiderate", he said.

"You've got to keep positive, that's the main thing - just smile and keep on going."

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Flights to Dublin have also been affected.

On Wednesday night a flight from Belfast to Gatwick had to be diverted to Birmingham.

Some passengers spent hours in the plane as it sat on the tarmac before they were allowed to disembark.