Gatwick flights cancelled, delayed or diverted due to air traffic control staff shortages
Gatwick Airport, one of the UK's busiest flight hubs, experienced a wave of flight cancellations, delays, and diversions yesterday, owing to a shortage of staff in its air traffic control department. Airport authorities extended their apologies to passengers inconvenienced by the disruption and encouraged affected travellers to reach out to their respective airlines for assistance.
A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport confirmed that more than 40 flights had been cancelled, while several others faced delays and diversions due to the inadequacy of air traffic control personnel. The spokesperson acknowledged the inconvenience caused to passengers and said that steps were being taken to rectify the situation.
In their statement last night, Gatwick Airport stated, "The situation has, however, improved with an additional air traffic controller now in place. The air traffic control restrictions are reducing as a consequence, and more aircraft are able to arrive and depart."
It is estimated that over 6,000 passengers have been affected by these unforeseen disruptions, causing considerable frustration among travellers.
The National Air Traffic Services (NATS) had earlier declared, "Air traffic control restrictions have been put in place due to a short-notice staff absence that affected the air traffic control team at Gatwick Airport. We are working closely with the airport to ensure we can handle flights with as little disruption as possible and we apologize very sincerely to people who have been inconvenienced as a result of unavoidable diversions."
Notably, low-cost carrier easyJet expressed its disappointment over the situation and issued an apology to its customers who had been impacted. The airline acknowledged that the issue was beyond its control but assured passengers that it was making every effort to minimize the inconvenience. EasyJet provided affected passengers with options to rebook or obtain refunds and arranged for hotel accommodations and meals as necessary.
Gatwick Airport emphasized its commitment to collaborating with NATS to bolster the resilience of the airport's control tower. The airport recognized NATS as a world-class provider of air traffic services and praised their hard work in keeping the operation running smoothly.
Travellers are advised to stay updated with their airlines and Gatwick Airport's official communications for the latest information on their flights, as the situation continues to evolve. Gatwick Airport says that they remain dedicated to resolving the staffing issue swiftly to ensure the continuity of operations and minimize further disruptions.
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