*****UPDATE: The BBC is reporting that the runway will remain closed until at least 1900 today (December 20).*****
All flights into and out of Gatwick airport are currently suspended, after the sighting of drones over the airfield overnight.
The airport provided the following statement at 1145 this morning (Thursday December 20):
“All flights remain suspended from Gatwick today, due to ongoing drone activity around the airfield. There is significant disruption, as a result of what appears to be a deliberate attempt to disrupt flights.
“We are extremely disappointed that passengers are being affected, especially at this time of year. Our advice continues to be not to travel to the airport and to check with your airline on the status of your flight.”
According to reports by the BBC, the shutdown started at around 2100 on Wednesday evening, after two drones were spotted being flown over the airport.
Since then further sightings have been reported, and although the runway was briefly reopened, it remains closed, with no concrete plans for when flights will resume.
Around 110,000 customers are due to arrive or depart the airport today, on some 760 flights, and around 10,000 passengers were affected yesterday evening.
Train operating companies including LNER are allowing affected customers scheduled to fly to Edinburgh to board their services instead.
Has your flight between London #GatwickAirport and Edinburgh been cancelled today? If so, you can use your flight tickets to travel on our trains today for FREE. #HomeforChristmas 🎅 https://t.co/iEB3oRh2Nv
— London North Eastern Railway (@LNER) December 20, 2018
And the Gatwick Express has issued advice on refunds and cross-operator acceptance of its tickets:
📢 Have you been affected by the #drones at Gatwick ✈️? If your travel plans have been changed, we’ve made the following arrangements to help get you on the move without any further hassle.
— Gatwick Express (@GatwickExpress) December 20, 2018
Business Traveller will update this story as more details become available.