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Flights resume from Gatwick after another closure following drone sighting

It comes just as the airport was starting to get things running again but luckily this time it was only closed for around 40 mins.

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It last almost 12 hours but now the problem seems to have arisen again.  Fortunately this closure was very temporary.

Just before 6pm Gatwick put a temporary closure on the runway. They also tweeted:

A Gatwick Airport spokeswoman said: 

“We are hearing a report of another drone sighting which we are investigating.  While we look into this we have taken the precaution of suspending operations on the runway.  We will update as soon as we have more information.”

It comes as a number of safety measures have been brought in to enable Gatwick Airport to re-open.

Only earlier today Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said:

“The number of options now available to help us detect and mitigate the threat from the drone has given us increased confidence in keeping people safe.

“This has been a particularly challenging situation. We have looked at everything possible that we can deploy to mitigate this threat and we have a range of measures, of differing levels of sophistication, in place which puts us in a much better position. We are being supported by Surrey Police and Metropolitan Police, as well as the military.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“I’ve consistently raised Parliament concerns at key national infrastructure sites like Gatwick being vulnerable to illegal drone activity.  This latest runway closure may be due to ultra sensitive after yesterday’s incident but in any case clearly a new, more robust strategy must now urgently be put in place by the CAA, DFT and law enforcement.”

Sussex police also issued a statement:

“Gatwick Airport have advised us that airfield operations have been suspended for safety reasons while reports of renewed drone activity are investigated.

Sussex Police is supporting the airport and is proactively deploying significant resources to seek and locate the drone and its operator and to ensure the safety of the travelling public and all those in and around the airport.”

Now the runway has reopened but passengers waiting to leave are very nervous.

One said:

“All four of us just want to get on the plane and get in the air, then we will start to relax.  It’s a nervous wait now though.”

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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