Gatwick chaos: Two arrested for criminal use of drones near airport

Passengers at Gatwick airport waiting for their flights yesterday following the delays and cancellations brought on by drone sightings near the airfield Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire
Passengers at Gatwick airport waiting for their flights yesterday following the delays and cancellations brought on by drone sightings near the airfield Picture: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

Two people have been arrested in connection with the ‘criminal use of drones’ which has caused widespread disruption to flights at Gatwick Airport.

Sussex Police said a man and a woman were detained by officers ‘in the Gatwick area’ at around 10pm on Friday.

Meanwhile, Gatwick Airport said this morning that the runway is open but passengers are urged to check with their airline before travelling.

Flights from the UK's second biggest airport were grounded for more than a day after devices were spotted inside the perimeter on Wednesday at around 9pm.

The airport fully reopened on Friday after tens of thousands of passengers had their travel plans disrupted, with police saying "proactive investigations" are ongoing.

A handful of flights due to arrive into Gatwick on Saturday have been cancelled, according to the airport's website, including an easyJet service from Milan-Linate and a TUI flight from Bridgetown, Barbados.

Superintendent James Collis of Sussex Police said: ‘As part of our ongoing investigations into the criminal use of drones which has severely disrupted flights in and out of Gatwick Airport, Sussex Police made two arrests just after 10pm on December 21.

‘Our investigations are still ongoing, and our activities at the airport continue to build resilience to detect and mitigate further incursions from drones by deploying a range of tactics.

‘We continue to urge the public, passengers and the wider community around Gatwick to be vigilant and support us by contacting us immediately if they believe they have any information that can help us in bringing those responsible to justice.’

Flights were briefly grounded at the airport on Friday evening after a fresh sighting at around 5.10pm, but military measures reassured operators it was safe to reopen the runway shortly afterwards.

Despite flights resuming after 70 minutes, airlines were still cancelling and delaying outbound flights into Friday night.

Inbound flights were also operating with delays, with some scheduled to arrive at Gatwick in the early hours of Saturday.

Military equipment was used on Friday to stop further drone disruption while a range of tactics are in place if any unmanned aircraft are seen inside the perimeter.