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easyJet cancel all flights from Gatwick as army is sent in

The operator made the decision to cancel all flights for today 20th Dec as a result of uncertainty over when the airport would reopen for flights.

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Following almost 24 hours of disruption the airline has now made the difficult decision to cancel all remaining flights for the day.

In a statement by easyJet they said:

“We are making every effort to get people to their destination at this important time of the year, but following reports of drones flying over Gatwick Airport, the runway remains closed and all flights are currently suspended. At this stage there is no indication of when the airport might re-open and as a result we have cancelled all flights due to operate to or from London Gatwick today.

“We expect disruption to continue into tomorrow and so advise all customers flying to and from London Gatwick tomorrow to check the status of their flight on our Flight Tracker www.easyjet.com/en/flight-tracker or via the app. Customers on cancelled flights, will be entitled to a free of charge transfer to an alternative flight and hotel accommodation if required. We will also reimburse any reasonable expenses incurred by passengers who arrange their own comparable alternative transport.

“Whilst the situation is outside of our control, we recognise how frustrating this is for everyone involved and would like to apologise to passengers for the disruption to their travel plans.

“The safety of its passengers and crew remains our highest priority.”

It is now known that specialist army personnel are being brought in to help assist at the airport but it is not yet confirmed in what capacity they will do so.

All around the airport every road and layby has been filled with a police or emergency vehicle as every effort is made to track and stop the drones and operators.

Crawley MP Henry Smith tweeted:

Business

Businesses show their support for Gatwick’s growth as protesters continue their campaign

With only four days left before the consultation closes, 29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans.

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With only four days left before the consultation closes, 29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans. The open letter to Stewart Wingate, the airport’s CEO, is signed by organisations including Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business and sector specific associations (full list below).

In the letter the business organisations describe Gatwick as ‘a linchpin of the regional economy and a significant national asset’ that contributes ’over £5bn to UK GDP and supports 85,000 jobs.’  It goes on to say:

As the UK heads into a new chapter, Gatwick will have a vital role to play in fuelling trade, tourism and commerce, and providing links to global markets. When Gatwick thrives and grows, so too does the national and regional economy, so the airport’s growth ambitions deserve our full support.’

Clearly this growth should not be at any cost, and given our businesses and employees are based in the local communities in and around the airport, we fully understand that the impacts of expansion need to be considered and carefully managed.

‘But we believe the strength of Gatwick’s plans lies in their simplicity. By unlocking much-needed new capacity from within the airport’s existing runways and footprint, Gatwick’s growth plans are a low-impact way of delivering significant benefits.’

We are firmly in support of Gatwick’s plans which we believe will play a crucial role in allowing our businesses, our employees and our region to continue to prosper.’

The support from businesses comes one month after 75% of residents surveyed across Sussex, Surrey and Kent said that they also supported Gatwick’s growth plans, with just 14% opposing.

The public consultation on Gatwick’s draft master plan runs until 10 January 2019 and can be accessed here

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“This vote of confidence in our plans for growth is particularly powerful as organisations representing over 25,000 businesses have thrown their weight behind our draft master plan. 

“Businesses know we can’t take the region’s economic growth for granted. By sending this letter they recognise the airport’s vital role in creating local jobs and opportunities, and that growing Gatwick is essential for the future prosperity of our region.

“With only a few days left I would like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in our ongoing consultation to show their support for the airport’s growth plans.”

But protesters like CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) say the effect of any part of the plan would be highly detrimental for all residents.

In a recent statement they said:

“This master plan simply blights these areas again to the threat of airport expansion beyond 2030. The fact remains that Gatwick was not selected by the Airport Commission due to lack of unemployment in the surrounding counties; lack of connectivity to the rest of the UK and the world; it is predominantly used for European leisure travel.”

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