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Gatwick drone cost Easyjet £10m

Cancelled flights and lost revenue resulting from the drone closure at Gatwick Airport before Christmas cost the budget airline Easyjet about £10m, according to the airline in its trading update for the first quarter of 2019. The shutting of the airport and delays and diversions of flights from December 19 to 21 affected around 82,000 customers and led to over 400 flights being cancelled.

Passenger numbers in the quarter increased by 15.1pc to 21.6 million, driven by an increase in capacity of 18.2pc to 24.1 million seats. This was slightly lower than originally planned due in part to the Gatwick drone, and to late A321 deliveries from Airbus, the airline said. It experienced 764 cancellations in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 1,051 cancellations in the same period of 2018, with the biggest number of cancellations due to the Gatwick drone.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet Chief Executive said: “There has been be a one-off cost impact from this incident, but underlying cost progress is in line with expectations. I am proud of the way our teams worked around the clock to mitigate the impact of the incident and looked after affected customers.”

And meanwhile Gatwick overall passenger numbers in December were down 0.4pc year-on-year as a result of the drone activity. Traffic would have been up 4.8pc in December, according to forecasts, but for the drone. Gatwick called 2018 its busiest year on record, with a total of 46.1 million passengers. Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport said: “As expected, the unprecedented and unacceptable criminal drone activity that took place before Christmas and, hugely frustratingly, prevented many of our passengers from travelling, had an impact on December’s passenger numbers.”

Gatwick Airport Limited is offering a reward of up to £50,000 through the crime reporting line charity Crimestoppers for the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for the drone disruption. And Lord Ashcroft, Chair of Crimestoppers, is offering a reward of up to £10,000.

Sussex Police are investigating.


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