Gatwick Airport, the second-largest in Britain, has reopened its runway after suspending flights while investigating reports of two drones flying over its aerodrome.
Gatwick said Wednesday evening that two drones had been seen over the airport at. 9:03, local time, and there were "more reports on observations" afterwards.
The airport said it was in collaboration with Sussex Police at the start of Thursday to investigate and not plan to reopen before it had "appropriate calming."
Flights in and out of the airport were suspended between Wednesday evening local time and early morning Thursday.
With the runway reopened, the airport worked to clear a backlog of travelers.
Gatwick usually operates a limited number of flights overnight. – 18 to 20 in the winter months, according to its website. The disturbance comes just days before Christmas and one of the heaviest travel times of the year.
Gatwick is 50 kilometers south of London and competing with Britain and Europe's busiest airport, Heathrow, just west of London.
Airlive.net, a site operated by aviation enthusiasts who collect and display real-time flight data, said all incoming flights to Gatwick was redirected to other UK airports, such as Manchester and Birmingham, and as far away as Paris and Amsterdam.
An increase in close collisions of unmanned aircraft and commercial jet aircraft has in recent years caused security problems in the aviation industry.
In the UK, the number of drop-outs between private drones and aircraft decreased more than tripled between 2015 and 2017, with 92 incidents registered last year, according to U.K. Airprox Board.