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UK police arrest man and woman over Gatwick drone disruption

UK police arrest man and woman over Gatwick drone disruption

Postby smix » Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:58 am

UK police arrest man and woman over Gatwick drone disruption
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brit ... SKCN1OL06D
Category: Aircraft
Published: December 22, 2018

Description: LONDON (Reuters) - Police have arrested a man and a woman after rogue drone operators crippled London’s Gatwick Airport for three days by repeatedly flying onto the airfield, sparking a major security response. Britain’s second-largest airport was back in operation on Saturday after it was forced to close its runway in the run up to Christmas when drones flew near the site south of London in the most disruptive incursion from unmanned aerial vehicles at any major airport. Police said they had made two arrests late on Friday, a 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman who were from the local area. They remained in custody on Saturday on suspicion of disrupting civil aviation services. No group has claimed responsibility for the disruption, which forced the cancellation or diversion of around 1,000 flights, affecting 140,000 passengers over three days. The airport, which shut its runway for spells on Wednesday and Friday and for all of Thursday, said it aimed to run a full schedule on Saturday. However, it warned that passengers should expect delays and cancellations as it continues to recover from the biggest disruption since an Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 2010. “We continue to urge the public, passengers and the wider community around Gatwick to be vigilant,” Superintendent James Collis said in a statement. “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.” The pre-Christmas travel disruption began late on Wednesday when Gatwick was forced to cancel all flights after spotting small drones near the airfield. Every time the airport sought to reopen the runway on Thursday, the drones returned. Authorities finally regained control over the airfield after the army deployed unidentified military technology to guard the area, reassuring the airport that it was safe enough to fly. “Safety is Gatwick’s top priority and we are grateful for passengers’ continued patience as we work to get them to their final destination in time for Christmas,” the airport said. The drones caused misery for travelers, many sleeping on the airport floor as they searched for alternative routes to holidays and Christmas family gatherings. A Reuters photographer at the airport on Saturday said it was busy before Christmas but operating smoothly. The biggest airlines operating at Gatwick include easyJet, British Airways and Norwegian (NWC.OL) and have said it is too early to determine the financial impact. Unmanned aerial vehicles have become a growing menace at airports across the world. In Britain, the number of near misses between private drones and aircraft more than tripled between 2015 and 2017, with 92 incidents recorded last year.



UK police release two people arrested in Gatwick drone investigation
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brit ... SKCN1OM0A0
Category: Aircraft
Published: December 23, 2018

Description: LONDON (Reuters) - British police on Sunday released without charge two people arrested in an inquiry into the illegal use of drones at London’s Gatwick Airport that crippled operations for three days last week. Sussex Police arrested a 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman from the local area late on Friday after drones were flown onto the airfield between Wednesday and Friday, forcing about 1,000 flights to be diverted or canceled and affecting 140,000 passengers. “Both people have fully co-operated with our inquiries, and I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick,” Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said on Sunday. The two were held after information was passed to the police by a member of the public, Tingley told Sky News. He said he was confident the arrests were justified. He said authorities were continuing to actively follow lines of investigation to catch those responsible for the most disruptive incursions from unmanned aerial vehicles seen at any major airport. A damaged drone had been recovered a close to the perimeter of the airport, he said, and it was being forensically examined, for example for clues about whether it was controlled remotely from afar or by somebody in the vicinity. No group has claimed responsibility for the disruption. “We have kept an open mind throughout and that is still the case with regards to the motivation behind these incidents,” he said. The drones were spotted at Britain’s second-largest airport on Wednesday evening, forcing it to close its runway in the run up to Christmas. Every time the airport sought to reopen the runway on Thursday, the drones returned. Authorities finally regained control over the airfield after the army deployed unidentified military technology to guard the area, reassuring the airport that it was safe enough to fly. The drones caused misery for travelers, many sleeping on the airport floor as they searched for alternative routes to holidays and Christmas family gatherings. Airlines operating at Gatwick, which is located south of London, include easyJet, British Airways and Norwegian. The airport said on Sunday it was offering a reward of 50,000 pounds ($63,275) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. It said it was expecting to operate a full schedule of 785 flights on Sunday, although a small number of delays and cancellations could occur as the airport fully recovered.
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