Tue 26 September 2023:
London’s Gatwick airport said on Monday that it had been forced to cancel more than 160 flights between now and Sunday due to an exceptional shortage of controllers, partly caused by coronavirus infections.
In a statement, Gatwick Airport said that until Sunday, flights will be limited to 800 per day, adding the decision had been taken in agreement with NATS, Britain’s air traffic control service.
‘A difficult decision but…’
Stewart Wingate, director of London Gatwick, said on Monday that the cancellation of flights was a difficult decision but the action taken meant the airlines could fly reliable flight programmes, which gave passengers more certainty that they would not face last-minute cancellations.
Wingate said he received repeated assurances from NATS after temporary air traffic control restrictions were put in place at the airport earlier this month, but the situation was not improving.
Meanwhile, a NATS spokesperson told The Guardian, “Given the levels of sickness we have experienced over the last few weeks, we believe it is the responsible thing to do to limit the number of flights this week in order to reduce the risk of daily disruption to passengers using the airport.”
The spokesperson added that the air traffic control service was training and recruiting as fast as possible but pointed out that even experienced air traffic controllers take at least nine months to qualify at Gatwick.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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