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Airport suspends all flights after drones get too close to airfield – CNET

Passengers stranded at Gatwick Airport wait for updates on their travel options on Thursday.

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One of the UK's busiest airports had to suspend or divert all flights after drones were seen over its airfield.

The disruption at Gatwick Airport, which is 30 miles south of London and Britain's second busiest, started around 9 p.m. local time Wednesday after a pair of drones were spotted, according to the BBC.

The runway remained closed until 3 a.m., but was shut down again 45 minutes later after "a further sighting of drones." It was still closed as of Thusday morning and police are hunting for the drones' operator, Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick's chief operating officer, told the BBC.

"There are no indications to suggest this is terror related," Sussex Police tweeted on Thursday, before seeking the public's help to identify the operator.

It's illegal to fly a drone within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of an airport or airfield boundary, and you can't fly it above 120 meters (400 feet) because it increases the likelihood of an aircraft hitting it.

Around 110,000 passengers on 760 flights were due to use the airport on Thursday, Gatwick told BBC, and some of the overnight flights were diverted to Paris and Amsterdam.

"We are working hard with our airlines to get information to passengers but would advise anyone booked onto flights from Gatwick, or meeting arriving passengers, not to travel to the airport without checking the status of the flight with their airline," the airport said in a Thursday release.

Gatwick didn't immediately respond to a request for further comment.

In August, Gatwick was forced to post flight information on white boards after its digital screens failed due to an IT glitch.

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