Military manhunt for drone operator who closed down UK's Gatwick airport

A military manhunt for a menacing drone pilot is underway at Britain's second busiest airport. 

London's Gatwick Airport has just reopened after being closed for the past 32 hours because a drone keeps flying over the runway. 

It's ruining the Christmas plans for hundreds of thousands of passengers. 

Under the Christmas tree at Gatwick, you won't find presents, you'll find thousands of people, waiting, sleeping, angry and frustrated.

All of this is caused by someone flying one or more drones above the airport.

Police are "absolutely certain this is a deliberate act to disrupt the airfield". 

It's been spotted numerous times - and footage has been captured by a stranded passenger.

Drones can bring down aircraft by rupturing wing fuel tanks, destroying engines, or other vital instruments.

Gatwick management is not taking any chances saying that

"Each time we are getting ready to reopen the runway, there's another drone sighting. And what I can't do is put the safety of passengers at risk so the airport remains closed" 

It's almost as if the drone pilot is playing a game with authorities 

Police tried all day to find the drone operator and shoot the device down, with no success. By night fall, the military was called in:

It's affected 56 airlines, nearly 1,000 flights, and more than 150,000 passengers so far  

New Zealander Rebecca Wiliamson is meant to be in Finland, but instead, got as far as Gatwick's customer service desk: 

"There was lots of yelling, lots of tears. And tantrums"

After waiting hours in line, she went home and changed her flight online - not the best start to a holiday 6 months in the making.

Ms Wiliamson says that "it's very frustrating, especially when you've taken the time to plan these things. And it's a horrible time of year to mess with people's travel."

While many are angry their Christmas plans are ruined, Rebecca's staying positive: 

"There's nothing I can do. I'm either going to end up there or end up here. Whatever I do, I'll make sure I'll have a great time."