Monday, July 3, 2017

Drone forces runway closure at Gatwick

Jul 04 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
PUBLIC MENACE - Drone forces runway closure at Gatwick

Gatwick airport's run way was closed and flights diverted after a drone was spotted flying “in the vicinity of the airfield“, officials said.The runway initially closed for nine minutes from 6.10pm. Landings and take-offs resumed briefly , but a second closure took place from 6.36 to 6.41. Gatwick tweeted: “Unconfirmed reports of a drone sighting led to runway suspension for a total of 14 mins. Operations fully resumed and police investigating.“
Some flights were diverted, with easyJet, the biggest airline at Gatwick, worst affected. Its flight from Milan to Gatwick was over three hours late after it diverted to Bournemouth.
If police can trace the drone owner, he or she could be liable for the tens of thousands of pounds that the disruption has cost airlines, as well as criminal prosecution. Endangering the safety of a plane with a drone is a criminal offence punishable with up to five years in pri son. It is believed that a number of drone owners deliberately fly close to airports, aiming to film close encounters with landing aircraft.
The number of near misses involving drones and aeroplanes quadrupled between 2015 and 2016, according to a report by the UK Airprox Board last year.

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