GATWICK RECAP: A timeline of drone Christmas carnage


Gatwick has reopened after around 36 hours of closure, a timeframe many suggest is far too long.

In one of the busiest days before Christmas, thousands of passengers had to be redirected to different airports around the UK or on to buses or trains while the majority remained stranded at Gatwick.

The rogue drones and who was behind the disruption has not yet been found but the chaos led to many senior government figures calling for measures to be put in place, including the Prime Minister.

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The closure continued until this morning, when reports came through that the runway at Gatwick has reopened but was operating a limited service.

Early reports suggest that environmental activists are one line of enquiry for police.

It has been made clear that it was an organised attack by a group or an individual which has modified or hacked the devices used.

This is because off-the-shelf drones are fitted with software to prevent flight near airports, meaning the devices in question could have been homemade.

In light of yesterday’s disruption, Commercial Drone Professional has put together a timeline of how the disruption, which involved over 40 drone sightings and spanned across three days, unfolded.


21:00 – Flights are suspended to and from Gatwick airport after reports of two drone sightings.


03:00 – Staff at Gatwick Airport re-open the runway.

03:45 – More drone sightings forces staff to close the runway again, it will remain so until Friday morning.

10:20 – Police in Sussex say to drone disruption is deliberate and has not been caused accidentally by a pilot.

12:20 – Gatwick COO Chris Woodroofe says around 110,000 passengers were due to travel through Gatwick on Thursday alone.

16:00 – MoD confirms police and Army are in ‘ongoing discussions’ about what action can be taken.

22:00 – The last time a drone sighting was reported at Gatwick.


06:00 – Flightradar24 suggests plane lands at Gatwick from East Midlands Airport.

06:30 – Statement released by Gatwick Airport says the runway is ‘available’ and a ‘limited’ amount of flights had been scheduled.

CDP used the BBC’s live reporting system along with a variety of other news sources to gather information on the events yesterday.

The likes of UK-based DroneDefence took to Twitter to say how there technology could be implemented to help this type of thing happening again while DJI also offered their support with AeroScope.

Find out more about what happened yesterday here:

Gatwick closed and flights still suspended until rogue drone is ‘brought down’

Tags : ArmyGatwickGatwick AirportMOD
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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