Gatwick drone disturbance: UK police make first arrests | News | DW | 22.12.2018
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Gatwick drone disturbance: UK police make first arrests

Gatwick airport aims to run a full schedule of flights again after days of disruption from drone sightings. Two people have been arrested over the "criminal use of drones."

UK police arrested a man and a woman in relation to repeated drone disturbances at Gatwick airport, authorities said on Saturday. 

A 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman were detained in the nearby town of Crawley late Friday over the "criminal use of drones." Some 40 sightings near the airport were made in total.

The incident grounded hundreds of flights causing travel chaos. More than 120,000 passengers were affected.

Read more: London's Gatwick Airport reopens for limited operations after drone scare

Britain's second-busiest airport reopened on Friday after being closed for 36 hours. After the arrests were announced, airport operators said they aimed to run a full schedule on Saturday. "Passengers should expect some delays and cancellations as we continue to recover our operations following three days of disruption and are advised to check with their airline before travelling to the
airport," a statement from the airport advised.

Sussex police superintendent James Collis said: "As part of our ongoing investigations into the criminal use of drones which has severely disrupted flights in and out of Gatwick Airport, Sussex Police made two arrests just after 10 p.m. on 21 December."

"Our investigations are still on-going, and our activities at the airport continue to build resilience to detect and mitigate further incursions from drones, by deploying a range of tactics."

'Military measures'

The airport was reopened after "military measures" were put in place. Police earlier described the drones as "unusually large" and said they may have been operated deliberately in a bid to disrupt the airport at one of the busiest times of year. They said there were no indications of terrorism.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said multiple drones had been spotted about 40 times while the airport was shut down, saying the incident was "unprecedented anywhere in the world."

Flying a drone within 1 kilometer (1,100 yards) of an airport or airfield boundary in the UK was outlawed in July but aviation officials want that expanded to 5 kilometers.

aw/sms (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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