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However, the airfield only reopened for a mere 44 minutes before being closed again after a further sighting of the drones.

On social media, passengers spoke of flights being diverted to other United Kingdom airports, including London Heathrow, Luton and Manchester.

In a statement, the airport said: "Following reports of two drones flying over the Gatwick Airport airfield at around 9pm, the airfield was closed from 21.03 on Wednesday 19th December to 03.01 on Thursday 20th December".

He said two drones had been seen flying "over the perimeter fence and into where the runway operates from".

On social media, passengers reported being delayed on the runway for over an hour as they waited for updates from the pilot.

Sussex Police launched an investigation and Gatwick promised to reopen the runway following "suitable reassurance".

Gatwick airport which remains closed this morning after drones were spotted over the airfield last night and this morning
London's Gatwick Airport completely shut after drone sightings

The airport suspended all flights late on Wednesday, causing severe disruptions just days before Christmas during one of the heaviest travel times of the year.

Ms Jaworska said it was "strange" that two drones had led to the closure of the airport.

A spokeswoman added that airlines were working to provide hotel accommodation or transport for those whose flights were diverted.

Lyndsey Clarke, from Southend, said she was stuck on a plane for more than four hours after it was rerouted to Stansted.

Planes were earlier unable to depart, while a number of flights scheduled to land were diverted to other airports.

"We apologise to any affected passengers for this inconvenience but the safety of our passengers is our foremost priority". "Which has made the delay better".

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