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London's Gatwick airport reopens after drone saboteur sows chaos

2018-12-21 22:52
LONDON, England (Reuters) - London's Gatwick Airport reopened on Friday after a mystery saboteur wrought 36 hours of travel chaos for more than 100,000 Christmas travelers by using drones to play cat-and-mouse with police snipers and the army. After the biggest disruption at Gatwick, Britain's second busiest airport, since a volcanic ash cloud in 2010, Gatwick said around 700 planes were due to take off on Friday, although there would still be delays and cancellations. The airport briefly closed again on Friday to investigate a new drone sighting but was soon operating as normal. "Flights have resumed," a spokeswoman said. "The military measures we have in place at the airport have provided us with reassurance necessary to re-open our airfield." Britain deployed unidentified military technology to guard the airport against what transport minister Chris Grayling said were thought to be several drones. "This kind of incident is unprecedented anywhere in the world," he said. The motivation of the drone operator, or operators, was unclear. Police said there was nothing to suggest the crippling of one of Europe's busiest airports was a terrorist attack. Gatwick's drone nightmare is thought to be the most disruptive yet at a major airport and indicates a new vulnerability that will be scrutinized by security forces and airport operators across the world.