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In what it’s calling a “wake up call” for airports, UK low-cost carrier EasyJet disclosed Tuesday that it lost £15 million ($19.4 million) in the drone incident that disrupted London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) over the peak holiday travel window last December.
LGW, the second-busiest airport in Britain, was shut down for 36 hours after drones were seen flying illegally in its airspace, causing thousands of canceled flights and diversions to other airports in the region. The disruption grounded more than 1,000 flights and affected about 140,000 passengers.
EasyJet’s CEO, Johan Lundgren, said he was “disappointed” by how long airport officials took to get the situation under control and relaunch flights out of Gatwick, BBC reports.
After the drones were reported, widespread cancellations and delays affected 82,000 EasyJet flyers. More than 400 EasyJet flights had to be canceled. The airline said it was forced to pay £10 million in “customer welfare costs” after the incident and lost another £5 million in revenue due to the canceled flights.
London’s Gatwick Airport, along with the city’s busier Heathrow Airport (LHR), deployed military-grade anti-drone technology worth millions of dollars to prevent a similar interruption from happening in the future.
Earlier in January, Heathrow halted departures for 30 minutes after it spotted a drone in its airspace. It isn’t clear if the anti-drone technology had yet been installed in the airport’s vicinity.
Featured image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.
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