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Drone spark chaos at Gatwick
20 December 2018 | Blog Post
Multiple sightings of an unmarked drone which shut down Gatwick Airport, creating chaos at Britain’s second-largest airport are testing a “grey area” in insurance argues Russell Group.
Sightings of the drone, which are currently under police investigation, left over 115,000 passengers stranded, with many reporting to the BBC, that their insurance policies would not cover them for alternative flights.
Gatwick, which is the world’s busiest single-runway hub and the base for EasyJet and for long-haul leisure British Airways flights according to Insurance Journal, will face huge disruption over the coming days, as many flights that were scheduled to land at the airport, have moved to other airports such as Cardiff, Paris and Amsterdam.
This incident, which the UK Civil Authority described as an “extraordinary circumstance” is part of a wider trend of drone-related incidents at airports across the globe.
Last week, a Boeing 737 of Grupo Aeromexico SAB, crashed on approach to its destination of Tijuana, near the Mexico-U.S. Border. Grupo is investigating whether the incident was caused by a drone, with pilots reporting a “loud bang” on the nose of the aircraft. Similarly, Wellington Airport was closed for 40 minutes on 11th October 2018, after a drone was spotted flying at 600 feet (which is 200 feet over the required regulations).
Despite it being illegal under UK regulation to fly a drone within 1 kilometre of an airport or airport boundary and flying above 400 feet, the number of UK aircraft incidents have increased considerably. Last year, there were over 100 aircraft incidents involving drones according to UK Airprox Board, which assess and keeps a log of all incidents involving drones.
Over the coming days, there will no doubt be an inquest into how the drone could enter the airspace along with almost certain security issues, but the wider question for the insurance industry, is this: is it time for drones to be taken seriously as a risk that can be insured?
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