Understand the Gatwick implications

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Landing at Gatwick. How to prevent future drone attacks must be the key question?

When I wrote about the drone incident at Gatwick yesterday morning little did I think that the airport would remain closed until this morning. Since there seems to be only limited flight departures and arrivals forecast for today the saga is set to continue.

That the first flight from the airport this morning was to Lapland with a plane full of people off in search for Christmas spirit seems ironical compared to the Christmas spirit dished out to the tens of thousands of people affected by the perpetrators of this criminal act.

More concerning than the delays are what this has taught us about the safety of airports. That this happened at Gatwick – an extraordinary busy airport at Christmas – doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen at any one of our other commercial airports.

That an airport as sophisticated as Gatwick didn’t know how to deal with this problem quickly suggests that probably all airports (and not necessarily those in the UK) are in a similar position. What can be done in the future to minimise disruption caused by drone attacks and this was surely an attack although by whom is unknown?

Introducing the electronic regulation of drones so that each has a recognisable profile that can immediately be tracked is shutting the stable after the horse has bolted to use a pre-high tech image which may be very old-fashioned but describes the situation. It is all those drones out there now that are the problem. Law-abiding drone owners are not the people we need to worry about. It is the person who deliberately will set out to sabotage our transport links that is the problem and ho obviously has no concern for the law.

One again, it looks as though the ability to resolve a problem hasn’t kept up with the development of a product. Even if the government hadn’t introduced legislation to control the industry surely some enterprising high-tech company could have spotted a market gap and developed a solution to unauthorised drone activity? Surely the airports should have planned for such a problem in their statutory risk assessment procedures?

Whilst I have every sympathy for those caught up in Gatwick it is the implications of this attack that I find are the most worrying.

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