At least 20,000 passengers have already been affected, with hundreds of thousands of journeys likely to be disrupted in the coming days. Gatwick’s operations chief Chris Woodroofe said those travelling home for Christmas will also face disruption for at least another 24 hours, and could not say when flights would resume.

The airport received reports of two drones flying over its airfield at around 9pm last night, which prompted its immediate closure until 3am. The airport then had to be closed again from 3:45am, as further sightings of drones were reported.

All flights landing at Gatwick this morning have been diverted to other airports, including some in France and the Netherlands. Flights scheduled to take off from Gatwick have been grounded until further notice.

Passengers have been strongly advised to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport this morning.

” Thurs 09.15: All flights to and from Gatwick are suspended due to ongoing drone activity activity around the airport. Unfortunately, there are significant delays and cancellations to all flights today.”

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