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Gatwick Airport drone: Lots of second-guessing, but not many answers

Now more than a week later after the infamous Gatwick Airport drone sightings, few questions have been answered. As of yet, no evidence that one or more drones were actually involved has emerged. Neither have any culprits been found. What has become very obvious though is how ill-prepared Gatwick Airport (and likely many other airports) are for occurrences like these.

Gatwick Airport drone

Richard Pérez-Peña writes for the NY Times:

“The British police had little to offer on Thursday except warnings about how little they had to offer.

The shutdown of Gatwick Airport for almost a day and a half last week showed how easily the sophisticated global aviation network can be crippled by someone with even limited resources, how vulnerable the system is to mischief — or worse — and how hard it can be to find the culprits.

“I think the whole country and certainly the government will have watched what’s gone on and said we need to up our game here,” she [Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service] said. “We need to work even more closely with the private companies; we need to work even more closely with the military; we need to try to be able to prevent the criminal use of drones for whatever motivation near our airports.”

Drone sightings first forced Gatwick to halt takeoffs and landings on the evening of Dec. 20. The airport resumed flights on the morning of Dec. 22, but suspended them again for a time that evening.

In all, more than 1,000 flights were canceled or diverted, delaying or canceling the travel of more than 140,000 passengers, including many who spent two nights at the airport.”

You can read the entire article here.


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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo