Gatwick drone incident: '˜Military capability' withdrawn from airport

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that military capability has now been withdrawn from Gatwick Airport.

Thursday, 3rd January 2019, 8:52 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:34 am
Crowds at Gatwick after the airport was closed because of drone disruption

Drone sightings near the runway led to Gatwick Airport being closed for 36 hours last month and thousands of flights being cancelled.

The Ministry of Defence deployed ‘specialist equipment’ to help Sussex Police with the incident on Thursday, December 20.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence has now confirmed that this military capability has been withdrawn.

“The military capability has now been withdrawn from Gatwick,” the spokesman said.

“The armed forces stand ever-ready to assist should a request for support be received.”

The airport’s runway was closed from around 9pm on Wednesday, December 19, until 6am on Friday, December 21, due to the sightings.

Police continue to search for those responsible.

Police said in a statement on Saturday: “It is established that the incident, which led to widespread travel disruption, was caused by numerous instances of illegal drone activity at the site between 19 and 21 December.

“This was not a police drone.

“Police, supported by a range of partner agencies and working closely with Gatwick Airport, are currently examining relevant sightings by 115 witnesses – 93 from credible witnesses, people used to working in the busy airport environment, including a pilot, airport staff and police officers.”

Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers, anonymously if you want, on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at