Gatwick drone chaos: Furious fliers are warned mayhem could last 24 HOURS after drone sightings SHUT runway – with planes diverted hundreds of miles, passengers turned away to hotels and ALL airports in south ‘full to capacity’

Two drones spotted flying near the runway brought Gatwick airport to a standstill last night with thousands of passengers diverted as far away as Bordeaux.

The chaos, which began shortly after 9pm, continued into today with planes still being diverted away from the airport as of 2am, and passengers stuck on the tarmac being taken to hotels near the Sussex airport – Britain’s second-busiest.

Passengers from the dozens of planes affected took to social media to complain about their travel plans being ruined.  

Some were diverted to Amsterdam, Paris, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Stansted and Luton, as well as the flight from Faro in Portugal that landed in Bordeaux, southwest France. 

a screenshot of a cell phone: Gatwick Airport confirmed they suspended flight operations after two drones were seen in the area surrounding the aerodrome. They said it was necessary to take this action for safety reasons 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Gatwick Airport confirmed they suspended flight operations after two drones were seen in the area surrounding the aerodrome. They said it was necessary to take this action for safety reasons 

Many passengers faced hours-long coach journeys to reach their final destination. Plans to get diverted planes back in the air had seemingly been abandoned early today.

Aviation chiefs warned every UK airport in the south-east of England was full to capacity as a result of the shutdown. 

a screenshot of a cell phone: Statement: Gatwick posted a message on Twitter urging passengers to check with their airline before travelling to the airport on Thursday amid fears the knock-on effects of the drone chaos would last well into the day 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Statement: Gatwick posted a message on Twitter urging passengers to check with their airline before travelling to the airport on Thursday amid fears the knock-on effects of the drone chaos would last well into the day 

One easyJet passenger on a flight from from Rome required medical attention after his flight was diverted to Stansted.  

a man sitting in a room: After more than four-and-a-half hours on the tarmac at Gatwick, passengers on an China Airways flight received an in-flight meal at 2am today as they awaited permission to taxi to the runway and take off

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited After more than four-and-a-half hours on the tarmac at Gatwick, passengers on an China Airways flight received an in-flight meal at 2am today as they awaited permission to taxi to the runway and take off

And some unlucky flyers were stuck circling over Bristol on a Norwegian Air plane before the flight from JFK was diverted to Liverpool.  

Planes were stranded side-by-side on runways across Europe. These aircraft are pictured at Birmingham after the flight from Belfast was diverted in the chaos 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Planes were stranded side-by-side on runways across Europe. These aircraft are pictured at Birmingham after the flight from Belfast was diverted in the chaos 

Those planning pre-Christmas getaways could also be affected as the mayhem looks set to spill over into this morning with dozens of jets currently at the wrong airport. 

a close up of a red light at night: Flights were grounded as drones were spotted flying at Gatwick (pictured), shutting down the airport's runway and disrupting aircraft across Europe 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Flights were grounded as drones were spotted flying at Gatwick (pictured), shutting down the airport’s runway and disrupting aircraft across Europe 

Passengers on board a China Airways flight due to take off at 9pm yesterday received an inflight meal while sitting at the gate on board the aircraft at 2am today. A TUI flight from Paphos due to land at Gatwick at 2.30am diverted to Manchester.  

a close up of a map: Several flights were forced to hold after two drones were reported near Gatwick Airport and more sightings were reported on social media throughout the night 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Several flights were forced to hold after two drones were reported near Gatwick Airport and more sightings were reported on social media throughout the night 

Social media users continued to report sightings of more drones throughout the night following the first two that were spotted. One report said up to seven had been spotted, but other witnesses said these were helicopters hunting the original drones.

People were trapped on planes for hours and others faced lengthy coach journeys as people claimed that they continued to spot drones throughout the evening 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited People were trapped on planes for hours and others faced lengthy coach journeys as people claimed that they continued to spot drones throughout the evening 

At least one pilot diverted from Gatwick declared a ‘pan pan’ emergency – one level down from a mayday – in a sign his aircraft needed to land urgently. 

a person standing in front of a truck: The chaos is set to spill over this morning as airport security were deployed at the scene last night as flights were downed at Gatwick 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The chaos is set to spill over this morning as airport security were deployed at the scene last night as flights were downed at Gatwick 

One man, Philip Dodson, was waiting for his wife on an easyJet flight from Porto. He slammed the airline for the lack of information. 

a blue truck parked on the side of a building: Police are pictured at the scene in Gatwick were two drones were spotted flying near aircraft, causing chaos across the continent 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Police are pictured at the scene in Gatwick were two drones were spotted flying near aircraft, causing chaos across the continent 

He wrote on twitter: ‘Your customer service and lack info is a disgrace just been waiting for my wife to arrive from Porto. 

a man sitting on a table: One pilot expressed his frustration on Instagram posting a picture from the flight deck as planes were stuck on the tarmac at Gatwick Airport 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited One pilot expressed his frustration on Instagram posting a picture from the flight deck as planes were stuck on the tarmac at Gatwick Airport 

‘Your website says it landed on time yet my wife is on the plane which was diverted to Southend, where she still is with no info.’

a group of people with their luggage

 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

One passenger, Harriet MacEacharn said she and her boyfriend were waiting to take off on a China Airlines flight to Taipei when they were delayed. 

a group of people sitting at a train station: Passengers vented their fury as they remained stuck on the tarmac after flights were diverted across the continent due to drones being seen at London's Gatwick Airport

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Passengers vented their fury as they remained stuck on the tarmac after flights were diverted across the continent due to drones being seen at London’s Gatwick Airport

‘At about 9.40 they told us they were investigating a foreign object on the runway. Now its 11.30 and we’ve heard not one thing more from the airline.’  She said it was likely they would miss their connecting flight. 

a screenshot of a cell phone: The chaos is set to spill over this morning as airport security were deployed at the scene last night as flights were downed at Gatwick 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The chaos is set to spill over this morning as airport security were deployed at the scene last night as flights were downed at Gatwick 

Other passengers reported they were held on the tarmac of Heathrow Airport because there were not enough security staff and customs officials to screen the unexpected arrivals. 

a screenshot of a cell phone

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

More than two-dozen flights have been forced to divert while air traffic control waits to give the all clear. 

a screenshot of a cell phone

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

British Airways apologised to its customers claiming flight operations had to be suspended because of the drone. 

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Frustrated customers are stuck at a crowded Gatwick airport as drone sightings brought flights to a standstill and closed down the runway 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Frustrated customers are stuck at a crowded Gatwick airport as drone sightings brought flights to a standstill and closed down the runway 

Some flights were forced to divert to Birmingham, leaving passengers more than 100 miles from their intended destination. 

a screenshot of a cell phone: British Airways confirmed flight operations at Gatwick had been suspended due to a drone

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited British Airways confirmed flight operations at Gatwick had been suspended due to a drone

While other aircraft were forced into holding patterns over France before receiving permission to approach Gatwick. 

a screenshot of a social media post: Aircraft were stuck on the ground as well as in the air while they awaited the all clear 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Aircraft were stuck on the ground as well as in the air while they awaited the all clear 

It is understood one Ryanair aircraft requested a diversion to Stansted. A Norwegian aircraft from Stockholm is currently on approach to Amsterdam.  

Relatives of those waiting for loved ones complained about the lack of staff providing information for those at Gatwick Airport

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Relatives of those waiting for loved ones complained about the lack of staff providing information for those at Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport said: ‘ ‘Following reports of two drones flying over the Gatwick Airfield, we have had to suspend flights while this is investigated.

a screenshot of a cell phone

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

‘We apologise to any affected passengers for this inconvenience but the safety is our foremost priority.’

a screenshot of a cell phone: People meeting passengers due to arrive at Gatwick complained their friends and families have been diverted to airports across the country 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited People meeting passengers due to arrive at Gatwick complained their friends and families have been diverted to airports across the country 

Family members expressed anger over social media after their loved ones were diverted to different airports. 

a screenshot of a cell phone: Passengers awaiting departure also expressed their anger at the delays caused by the drone

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Passengers awaiting departure also expressed their anger at the delays caused by the drone

One easyJet flight landed at Stansted instead of Gatwick because of the continued chaos. 

a screenshot of a cell phone: One passenger complained easyJet failed to provide adequate information 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited One passenger complained easyJet failed to provide adequate information 

Other flights are believed to have landed in Manchester, Cardiff, Luton and Paris.  

a screenshot of a cell phone: One passenger said they were forced to land in Liverpool rather than Gatwick 

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited One passenger said they were forced to land in Liverpool rather than Gatwick 

One Norwegian Air flight from JFK diverted to Liverpool having circled Bristol while awaiting an update. 

a group of people standing next to a man: Plane passengers were left in limbo as 'drone spotted' at Gatwick

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Plane passengers were left in limbo as ‘drone spotted’ at Gatwick

It is now feared that these diversions could cause major disruption for people planning a pre-Christmas getaway as dozens of jets and flight crews are now at the wrong airports.  

Several passengers reported long waits for take off or diversions.

Twitter user Seun Olayanju posted: ‘@AerLingus currently stuck at Gatwick waiting for the heavily delayed E10249 to Dublin. Please can you confirm if the flight will run tonight?’

Honor Ireland wrote: ‘Landed at Stanstead when we should be at @Gatwick-Airport due to a supposed drone sighting – car is at Gatwick, fatastic! £gatwickairport’

John Belo said: ‘Plane should have departed an hour ago from @Gatwick-Airport – captain confirmed there are reports of a drone in the area … still waiting.’

Kirsty Lingston said: ‘Thanks to the d*cks flying drones around my flight to Gatwick has now landed in Southend.’

A passenger revealed he departed the Isle of Man more than 90 minutes late only to land at Manchester where he has to face a four-and-a-half hour coach journey. 

In Britain, the number of near misses between private drones and aircraft more than tripled between 2015 and 2017, with 92 incidents recorded last year, according to the UK Airprox Board. 

Source:Dailymail.co.uk 

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