Gatwick Airport has reopened this morning, after an investigation into reports of drones flying near the airfield caused it to shut down for more than 36 hours.
Hundreds of thousands of passengers attempting to travel for Christmas were affected by the disruption, the airport's largest since a volcanic ash cloud in 2010.
As of 7am this morning, some flights have been allowed to take off and land from Gatwick's runway. The airport said that around 700 flights would be permitted to take off today, although severe delays and cancellations are still to be expected.
More than 20 police units were hunting for the drone operators throughout the day yesterday, aided by the military and police snipers by late evening.
Gatwick’s operations chief Chris Woodroofe said the perpetrator had not been found, but that additional security measures had given him sufficient confidence to reopen the airport.
The airport said there were no suggestions the interruption was a terrorist threat, however it is almost certain that the perpetrators were deliberately attempting to disrupt travel.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling told the BBC this morning that Gatwick Airport is "confident that a mixture of measures brought in over the last day or so now give them comfort that planes can fly safely into and out of the airport".
As of July, it is illegal to fly a drone within 1km of an airport or airfield boundary in the UK, as they can strike planes and cause damage. Some drones have been fitted with special software to force the technology into shut-down mode if it is thought to be near an airfield.
Those caught flouting the law could face maximum fines of £2,500, or up to five years in prison.
Nearly 3m people were due to pass through the airport over the festive period, according to Stephen King, head of airline relations at Gatwick, in what was due to be the "busiest Christmas in the airport’s history".
A Gatwick spokesperson said this morning:
"A limited number of aircraft are taking off and landing at Gatwick this morning but our departures and arrivals rate is currently very restricted to just a few runway movements every hour so passengers must expect delays and cancellations again today.
"Gatwick continues to strongly advise passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport.
"Overnight we have been able to work with partners, including Government agencies and the Military to put measures in place which have provided the confidence we needed to re-open the runway and ensure the safety of passengers, which remains our priority.
"We continue to provide welfare and information to all disrupted passengers who are at the airport and have had teams in throughout the night. Our priority today is to get our operation back on track so that people can be where they need to be for Christmas."