The UK’s Gatwick Airport has cancelled 4,000 flights until September due to staffing shortages meaning that at 800,000 people will have to find alternative travel arrangements.
The country’s second-busiest airport is planning to limit its number of daily flights to 825 in July and 850 in August, as compared to a reported 900 daily flights during the same time period in previous years.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate explained that the cap aims to tackle high numbers of same-day cancellations. The airport agreed upon the restrictions with such air carriers as easyJet, Wizz and British Airways, with Wingate insisting that passengers on cancelled flights will be rebooked on different departures.
He admitted that even though they had “put a heck of a lot of effort into getting ready for the summer period, the rebound is happening faster at Gatwick than any other European airport."
“It is clear that during the [Queen’s Platinum] Jubilee week, a number of companies operating at the airport struggled in particular, because of staff shortages. By taking decisive action now, we aim to help the ground handlers – and also our airlines – to better match their flying programmes with their available resources,” Wingate argued.
He added that “the steps taken today mean that our passengers can expect a more reliable and better standard of service, while also improving conditions for staff working at the airport.”The remarks came after the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) demanded that airlines review their summer timetables to ensure they are “deliverable”.Rannia Leontaridi, head of aviation at DfT, and Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, also warned that there will be “unavoidable cancellations” in the weeks and months ahead.
“While cancellations at any time are a regrettable inconvenience to passengers, it is our view that cancellations at the earliest possibility to deliver a more robust schedule are better for consumers than late notice on the day cancellations,” the two pointed out.
Earlier in June, data company Cirium estimated that British airlines cancelled almost 500 flights into and out of the UK over the four-day Platinum Jubilee holiday, including scores at short notice, something that hit tens of thousands of holidaymakers.
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