Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Drone sightings have forced the suspension of all flights at Gatwick Airport in London for several hours through early Thursday morning.
Flights were grounded and inbound planes diverted at 9 p.m. Wednesday after two devices were seen nearby, the airport said in a statement posted on Twitter.
After six hours, the runway was reopened but 45 minutes later "unfortunately a further sighting of drones in the vicinity of the airport has forced the runway to be closed again."
Gatwick promised to reopen the runway following "suitable reassurance."
According to Flight Radar, more than 50 flights bound for Gatwick had been diverted by 4:30 a.m.
The airport said airlines were securing hotel accommodations or transportation from diverted airports to Gatwick.
"We apologize to any affected passengers for this inconvenience but the safety of our passengers and all staff is our foremost priority."
Kasia Jaworska was traveling from Glasgow to Gatwick with her boyfriend when her flight was diverted to Luton, she told BBC.
After spending about two hours on the plane, she said the couple took a bus to Gatwick, where they were due to fly to Istanbul, Turkey.
"You would imagine there would be better security in place and emergency action for something like that," she said in referring to the drones.
It is illegal to fly a drone within .62 of a mile of the airport's boundary.
Gatewick has flights to 230 destinations in 70 countries, according to the airport's website. With 45.6 million passengers in 2017, it is the second-busiest airport in Britain behind London Heathrow.