Man and woman arrested over drone occurred at Gatwick airport

LONDON – A 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman were arrested with suspicion of destroying a drone in Gatwick Airport, Britain's second largest airline hub, and forcing hundreds of aircraft to be grounded or diverted and tens of thousands of vacationers delayed.

The two people were arrested around 10 pm local time Friday on "suspected of interfering with the services of the airline carrier for threatening or likely danger to the safety of operations or persons," said the Sussex police in a statement on Saturday.

These offenses carry a maximum sentence of imprisonment on conviction, police said.

The man and the woman, who were not identified, but who are both from Crawley, a city just south of the airport, were repossessed on Saturday. The police did not release any further details. The suspects have not been formally charged.

Drone observations had forced the cancellation or continuation of more than 1,000 aircraft over three days, affecting 140,000 people, officials said. On Saturday, Gatwick warned passengers to continue to expect more delays and cancellations and to check flight status before leaving for the airport.

The disturbance in Gatwick glided around the world, with passengers forced to find accommodation or wait for long lines to know if they would be able to fly home for holidays.

Britain's transport secretary, Chris Grayling, acknowledged that the government needed to increase its response. "We have to learn very quickly from what happened," he said in an interview with the BBC on Friday.

Kaoset discussed the UK's guidelines for the growing number of drone users in the country that have been slow to adopt a drone register, analysts say. The US Aviation Authority has instructed operators to register since 2015 so that the entities can be identified.

In the UK, the authorities start similar registrations from November next year.

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