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Airbus on final approach to Gatwick in narrow miss with drone

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An Airbus A320 was forced off its final approach to landing at Gatwick Airport after the pilot spotted a drone directly ahead of them.

The report which has finally been released by the UK Airprox Board said that the pilot of the aircraft which was in its final stages to RW26 at Gatwick had to take ‘Avoiding Action’ of a 5-8 degree bank to the right to avoid a drone.

The pilot said that he saw a dark coloured drone which was ahead of them.

According to the report the drone was being flown above the maximum permitted height of 400ft and was within controlled airspace.

This meant that it was endangering other aircraft around it.

The incident happened on the 28th April and was classed as a category A which is the highest risk category given.

Gatwick

Gatwick trials boarding aircraft by window seats first

London Gatwick is trialling a new boarding technique in a bid to avoid queues and congestion at gates.

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During the two-month trial, large digital screens and staff will be placed at Gate 101 to show passengers the order to board.  A range of sequences will be trialled to test whether they make the process faster, more relaxing and, potentially, reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward at any stage.

Possible sequences include seating people from the back row to the front with window seats first, middle seats next and aisle seats last.

Passengers who have booked priority boarding – or those who require special assistance or are travelling with young families – will still board first during the trial.

Modelling indicates that these techniques may be able to reduce boarding times by up to 10%, compared to conventional methods.

Learnings from the trial, as well as feedback from passengers, will be used to decide whether to take this concept forward or not.

Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation, Gatwick Airport said:

“We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.

“Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time.  By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passenger rushing forward at any stage.”

London Gatwick and VINCI Airports have been early technology innovators for many years. The use of technology to improve operations leads to further ongoing success, particularly true given London Gatwick’s role as a gateway, and as its traffic volumes are predicted to continue to rise.  Following its acquisition earlier this year, London Gatwick has become one of three VINCI Airports Innovation Centres of Excellence.  

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