Flights were cancelled and faced delays after the main runway at Gatwick airport was closed on Sunday for more than three hours.
The closure followed a storm and heavy rainfall, with reports suggesting a hole had opened up in the runway as a result.
At least 19 flights were diverted including arrivals from Istanbul, Vienna and Madeira while many others were delayed from 3.48pm.
Inbound aircraft were sent to a number of alternative airports including Bournemouth, Luton and Stansted.
The main runway reopened just after 7pm but many passengers were delayed for hours and those inside the airport posted pictures of chaotic scenes on social media.
Gatwick has a smaller, spare runway parallel to the main runway which is only used in emergencies, and it was opened to departures and arrivals at 4.35pm to help clear the backlog of flights.
The main runway reopened at 7.20pm yesterday.
EasyJet cancelled 28 flights due to depart from Gatwick and eight arriving services were diverted to other airports.
The airline said: “We can confirm that as a result of the runway being closed at London Gatwick for essential maintenance, some flights scheduled to arrive at London Gatwick diverted to alternate airports. We have also cancelled a number of flights scheduled to depart from London Gatwick.”
A Gatwick spokesman confirmed that the main south runway was temporarily closed on Sunday afternoon, and admitted it would have knock-on effects.
He said: “Our main runway was temporarily closed at 15.48 while we investigated a reported issue. We switched our operation to the [secondary] northern runway to keep flights departing and arriving from Gatwick.
“There will, however, be some delays to flights and cancellations because of this. The safety and security of our airport and passengers is our number one priority, but we’d like to apologise to passengers impacted.”
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