The drone attack that has been blocked since Wednesday night by Gatwick Airport, the second most important airport in the United Kingdom, has already affected some 2,000 people who had planned to take off or land in thirteen of the 27 connections scheduled yesterday with the Archipelago. . Of the thirteen operations suspended with the Canary Islands during the Christmas season, seven were on the way out and six on the way out. Tenerife Sur had six links, Lanzarote with three, and both the Fuerteventura and La Palma aerodromes with two others each, according to data provided by AENA. The incidence of this blockade has special relevance for the Islands, since the United Kingdom is the main tourist source market for the region.
The airport chaos that has caused the offensive with unmanned aerial vehicles has altered the travel plans of 110,000 people who had to embark on 760 flights. The flights that have not been canceled were diverted to other airports in the United Kingdom and also to those in Paris and Amsterdam.
The persistence of the attack has forced the British Army to intervene. A team of specialists from the British armed forces deployed to intercept the devices. Until this incident is resolved, the British Government has lifted the nightly flight restrictions at dawn in some British airports in order to minimize the consequences of the Gatwick airport incident. With this measure, the Executive of the United Kingdom seeks to relocate other flights to the largest possible number of passengers who want to reach the country and those who want to leave.
The London airfield closed all its airstrips from 21.03 on Wednesday due to the presence of several drones flying over the area. The central runway recovered its operation for just over 45 minutes, when new drones were detected and the airport was closed indefinitely until it had "the adequate security that it is appropriate to reopen the runway".
Gatwick is located about 50 kilometers south of London and is one of the airports with the highest air traffic in Europe, along with Heathrow. Not in vain, during the festive period it is estimated that some 2.9 million people pass through this site during the Christmas holidays.
Airport authorities have apologized to those affected on their Twitter account and stressed that security is "the highest priority." The airport indicated in a note that passengers who have tickets to Gatwick can use them in Luton at no cost and that they are entitled to their full refund if they wish if they can not travel. He maintains, in turn, that yesterday's tickets are valid for today.
In the United Kingdom, the use of these devices near the air terminals is punishable by up to five years in prison. According to British law, it is illegal to fly drones a kilometer from the limit of an airport.
The Sussex police said that the models of the unmanned ships in the attack are, a priori, industrial. The superintendent of this security body, Justin Burtenshaw, qualified the work to locate those responsible for "thorough" and "difficult." "Every time we try to get close to the operator, the drone disappears.When we see if we reopen the runway, the drone reappears, I am convinced that it is a deliberate act to interrupt Gatwick," he said. According to law enforcement officials, "there is absolutely no indication to suggest that this activity is related to terrorism."
The British Association of Air Pilots said that it should be understood that these devices are not just toys and can have "catastrophic consequences" if they hit an airplane while the European Association of Regional Airlines (ERA) called for a "stronger" safety regulation "of the drones. The ERA stressed in a statement that it is necessary to take measures so that these vehicles controlled by remote control can not reach airports or airplanes. In its note, the ERA points out that the use of drones in a regulated environment has wide commercial benefits, but its control by people with little knowledge of airport security can cause a great alteration of the terminals and pose a threat for the safety of airplanes. "It is now a priority to reinforce the laws and create wider no-fly zones around airports," he claimed.