A number of flights were forced into holding patterns while others were diverted after the runway was shut last night as a “precautionary measure”.
The airport’s second runway, which the Evening Standard described as a “stand-in” landing strip not usually used for public flights, was brought into operation as engineers attempted to repair the tarmac.
Many flights were delayed while eight aircraft were diverted to other airports including Southampton.
It is the second time a hole has appeared in Gatwick’s main runway, after a similar discovery in June led to scores of flights being delayed.
Experts have reportedly blamed warm weather and an increase in the number of flights over the summer, the Evening Standard reported.
Gatwick airport released a statement around 11.25pm last night saying the main runway was back in operation.