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Gatwick reopens, compensation looks unlikely

LanguedocLiving, Dec 21

A total of 155 flights were cancelled at Gatwick, after the drone episode which lasted from Wednesday night until Friday morning.

Gatwick planes started flying again on Friday morning, much to the relief of some passengers. Thousands of people had their travel and holiday plans ruined by a drone operator who seemed to be playing with the police and the army.

After all the cancellations, over 130,000 people were due to fly on Friday on the 837 planned flights. "Normality at the airport is expected to return by Saturday evening" said a Gatwick sporkesperson.

The perpetrator has not been found yet, and detection and tracking devices are installed on the perimeters of the airport. Authorities have said that if the drone is spotted, the airport will close once again. The drone was last seen at 10pm on Thursday.

Steve Barry, Sussex assistant chief constable, said they were in a “much better position today”. He previously told the BBC that there were a “number of lines of inquiry” into the "very malicious and criminal behaviour", including the possibility it could have been the work of an environmental activist.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said there was no evidence it was terror-related, but said of the disruption that “lessons need to be learned” and that there was “no simple solution" and "you can't fire weapons haphazardly around an airport".

Meanwhile, there are still thousands of stranded passengers, and those who managed to find expensive alternatives are now out of pocket.

Passengers will most likely not get compensation due to the fact the drones were "extraordinary circumstances", meaning airlines are not obliged to pay out.

However, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the burden should fall on travel insurance firms to pay compensation.

[If you were affected and you have news of compensation, please write in to us and let us know. Ed.]

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