Gatwick Airport closure: Army called into deal with drones chaos

The Army has been called in to help find the operators of drones which have shut down Gatwick Airport and disrupted the travel plans of more than 110,000 people.

The shutdown has sparked a succession of delays and diversions in the run up to the Christmas getaway, in what authorities have called a 'deliberate act' to disrupt the airport. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
The shutdown has sparked a succession of delays and diversions in the run up to the Christmas getaway, in what authorities have called a 'deliberate act' to disrupt the airport. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

An emergency Whitehall meeting is being held in response to the crisis at the UK’s second busiest airport.

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Gatwick Airport closed after drones flown near runway

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Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told Sky News: “Sussex Police have requested assistance and support from the armed forces, and we will be deploying the armed forces to give them the help that they need.”

Efforts to find the drones and whoever is operating them are becoming more and more desperate as flight cancellations continue to soar.

The runway has been closed almost constantly since two drones were spotted being flown inside the West Sussex airport’s perimeter at 9pm on Wednesday.

Police described the devices as “industrial” models and are treating the incident as “a deliberate act to disrupt the airport”.

Some 110,000 people were due to either take off or land at the airport on 760 flights on Thursday. Around 10,000 passengers were affected on Wednesday night.