LONDON (AP) — The Latest on London airport closure because of drones (all times local):
British police say they believe the flying of drones over Gatwick Airport is a deliberate act, but there are no signs it is related to terrorism.
Flights in and out of Britain’s second-busiest airport have been suspended since Wednesday evening, disrupting the journeys of tens of thousands of passengers.
Supt. Justin Burtenshaw, the airport police commander, said: “We believe this to be a deliberate act to disrupt the airport. However, there are absolutely no indications to suggest this is terror-related.”
Police say the first report of a drone over the airfield was made shortly after 9 p.m. (2100GMT) Wednesday and the last sighting around 8.45am on Thursday.
Police from two forces, backed by a helicopter, are scouring he area around the airport south of London for the drone operators.
London’s Gatwick Airport remains shut while police and airport officials investigate reports that drones were flying in the area of the airfield.
Passengers traveling Thursday were advised to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport.
Gatwick first closed Wednesday night at around 9 p.m. (2100 GMT) when drones were sighted. It reopened at around 3 a.m. (0300 GMT) Thursday morning but shut down again in 45 minutes when drones were spotted.
Many incoming flights have been diverted to other destinations in Britain and continental Europe. The disruption is having a ripple effect on air travel as cancellations mount.
The drone sighting came near the height of the busy Christmas travel season.
Gatwick is a busy airport 27 miles (43 kilometers) south of central London.