Christmas travel woes, 2018-style
On the surface, the Gatwick drones story was a standard ‘Christmas travel woes’ story with a modern tech twist. That’s largely how the media reported it – flights cancelled, passengers stranded, officials trying to resolve the situation…. all the usual factors were there.
But below the surface, and much harder to report on, were the less standard questions. The things that made this such a weird event. Where were the drones coming from? Who was operating them, and why? If you don’t publicise a motive for doing this, what’s the point? It’s like something from a movie.
In the absence of any pranksters being caught or environmentalists claiming responsibility, we for now have to face up to the fact that there’s a chance we’ll never know who did it.
And now they’ve done it once, they – or someone else – could try it again. Airports can do more in terms of installing tech to alert them to nearby drones, and the government can update the law to reflect what happened. But criminals with the right technical skills won’t be put off by such things.
It’s easy to see this week’s event as a proof of concept. A test to show you can close an airport for more than a day with some drones and the right tactics. And now they’ve proved it, it’s easy to imagine 'they’ (whoever they are) will do it again. Happy Christmas, air travel industry.