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Drone Sightings Estimated to Cost Gatwick Airport Around $25 million

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 1/7/2019 Donald Wood

After a series of drone sightings that shut down England’s Gatwick Airport in December, officials said the delays and cancellations could cost around $25 million in lost revenue.

According to the Evening Standard, the Gatwick closures caused by the drone activity impacted more than 1,000 flights and 140,000 passengers during the notoriously busy Christmas holiday travel period.

In addition to costing the airport and airlines millions of dollars in lost revenue, other businesses associated with Gatwick have also been impacted, including retailers, hotels and taxis. Estimates show restaurants and shops lost more than $1.25 million in revenue.

“On an average day Gatwick generates around £2.1 million of revenue of which around 52 percent (£1.05 million) comes directly from aeronautical revenues charged to airlines,” JG Aviation Consultants director John Grant told The Standard. “Clearly a large part of that revenue would have been lost since little capacity existed to accommodate passengers on later flights so close to Christmas.”

No Drone zone sign. (photo via HunterBliss / :iStock / Getty Images Plus) © Getty Images No Drone zone sign. (photo via HunterBliss / :iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The three largest airlines serving the English airport are Norwegian, British Airways and EasyJet, but officials from each company will not reveal estimates of revenue lost.

Impacted travelers were notified by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority that since the incident was an extraordinary circumstance outside the control of the airlines, the carriers were not required to provide compensation to passengers.


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