Gatwick Airport disruption: Scots couple's wedding in doubt amid drone chaos
A Scottish couple due to be married tomorrow faced a night of uncertainty at Gatwick Airport following travel chaos caused by drones.
Bride-to-be Tayo Abraham and her partner Ope Odedine from Glasgow were due to fly to Marrakesh in Morocco on Wednesday alongside nine family and friends.
The group boarded the Air Arabia flight, due to depart at 8.40pm, and were kept onboard “in the dark” until 2am.
Gatwick’s runway has been shut since Wednesday night due to devices flying over the airfield, with chief executive officer Stewart Wingate saying they have been designed to “close the airport and bring maximum disruption”.
Miss Abraham, 31, a contractor from Glasgow, said: “It’s been a year that we’ve been planning this, we can’t start rearranging the wedding.
“It’s sad because it’s Christmas time and people are trying to get to loved ones.
“Everything has been disrupted but aside from the cost it’s the emotional side, the trauma.”
The group, including a four-year-old and a one-year-old, booked a hotel for the night after passengers were told to return to the airport at 11am on Thursday.
Following another day of disruption, Ms Abraham and her fiance are booking an alternative flight from Manchester Airport for 6am on Friday morning at a cost of over £1,000.
She said they may have to “trim” back on guests as the additional cost of rebooking flights was too high for everyone to pay.
She said: “Most of the guests are there already. We have to be there.
“I just want to get there and get this over with, but it will be disappointing for everyone that isn’t able to travel.”
The couple are due to fly back on December 26, with other members due to return to the UK on Sunday.
Ms Abraham’s uncle Baba Sanwo, from San Diego, flew into Heathrow from the US on Tuesday in anticipation of Wednesday’s flight, hoping to travel as a family.
The 63-year-old said he had been sat on the floor of Gatwick for over five hours.
He said: “I’m uncomfortable, cold and hungry.
“What if there are people on medication, what if there was a wedding today?”
Stella Phillips, the bride-to-be’s aunt, from London, said she may be unable to attend the wedding if the flight does not take off on Thursday night.
She said: “There’s no information. Gatwick have been fine but they don’t have any information for you, they say go to your airline.”
The 41-year-old said the group paid £300 for the hotel on Wednesday and they are unsure whether they can recover the costs.
Mrs Phillips said: “This kind of thing can be avoided. You’re saying you’re trying to prevent loss of life, but you know it’s a drone.
“Couldn’t they have brought the military in ages ago? It might take another 24 hours for them to do what they want to do.”
This morning Gatwick Airport reopened for a “limited number” of flights after a drone caused chaos for tens of thousands of passengers.
Flights in and out of the airport were suspended on Wednesday night, with the shutdown continuing throughout Thursday despite a brief reopening in the early hours.
At just before 6.30am on Friday, Gatwick said the runway was “currently available”, with “limited number of aircraft” scheduled for departure and arrival.
The airport continued to urge passengers to check the status of their flights before travelling and warned that people could still face delays and cancellations.
According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, a plane landed at Gatwick from East Midlands Airport at 5.58am, while the first flight to depart left at 6.33am heading to Lapland.