Britain's Gatwick airport reopens after 6-hour shutdown over reports of drones

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The airport has issued a warning, suggesting that people departing or picking someone up from Gatwick check the status of their flights.

In a statement posted to Twitter early on Thursday morning, Gatwick airport said the airfield was inititally closed for six hours between 9pm to 3:01am after the two drones were sighted.

Under British legislation, drones can not be flown near aircraft or airports, or at an altitude of over 400 feet (122 metres).

All inbound and outbound flights at London's Gatwick airport have been suspended after drones were seen in its airspace, airport authorities have confirmed.

Gatwick's statement did not provide an estimate for the resumption of flights.

Police and aviation authorities were still investigating early on Thursday as incoming flights were diverted to other locations in the United Kingdom and nearby countries.

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Social media users spoke of flights being forced to head to other United Kingdom airports, including London Heathrow, Luton and Manchester.

Two drones were spotted flying over the airfield at about 9.03pm this evening, with officials saying there had been further sightings since.

"Our airlines are working to provide affected passengers with hotel accommodation or transport passengers landing at other airports to Gatwick by other means, and Gatwick staff are looking after passengers in our terminals", the airport said.

It is unclear when flights will be allowed to leave or arrive at Gatwick today.

The statement read: "Due to drone activity on the airfield at Gatwick, all arriving and departing flights are now suspended". It is thought more than 50 flights were affected.

The airport said it was investigating the incident and apologised to customers for the inconvenience after the runway was closed.