Flights at London's Gatwick Airport suspended again over "suspected drone sighting"

/ CBS/AP

Drones shut down Gatwick Airport

London — Flights at London's Gatwick Airport have been suspended again because of a "suspected drone sighting," an airport spokeswoman said. The shutdown came roughly 11 hours after flights had resumed Friday morning at Britain's second-busiest airport.

British Police and transport officials had said extra security measures were put in place to prevent drones from intruding on the airport.

Flights at Gatwick, which serves over 43 million passengers a year, were shut down all of Thursday and for several hours Wednesday evening due to drone sightings. The motive for the drone use wasn't clear. Police said there was no indication it was "terror related."

The British military has been aiding police and aviation authorities in the search for the culprit or culprits behind the drone intrusion, which police said was designed to cause maximum disruption over the holiday period.

The runway closure has had a spillover impact on the international air travel system, with thousands of passengers remaining short of their destinations.

Flying a drone within around three-fifths of a mile of an airport in the U.K. is illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison. It is something aviation and security officials have long feared happening at airports around the world.

First published on December 21, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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