Thousands stranded after flight cancellations and delays at Gatwick & Heathrow

Image: Heathrow Airport

EasyJet blame bad weather and air traffic control delays

Holiday plans for thousands of travellers have been thrown into disarray due to widespread flight cancellations and delays at London Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

EasyJet at Gatwick and British Airways at Heathrow have cancelled 32 short-haul flights each, according to reports. Destinations affected include Lanzarote, Budapest, and Venice, as reported by The Independent.

At Heathrow, British Airways cancelled two round-trips to Rome as well as services to Naples, Barcelona, and Larnaca in Cyprus.

EasyJet attributed the overnight cancellations to adverse weather conditions and air traffic control (ATC) disruption. Many of their early Monday flights from Gatwick experienced significant delays, although services appeared to stabilise by lunchtime.

An EasyJet spokesperson said:

“EasyJet operated around 1,800 flights yesterday. Unfortunately, some were disrupted due to adverse weather and air traffic control delays. We have been working tirelessly to minimise the impact on our customers, offering hotel accommodation, meals, refunds, or transfers to alternative flights.

“Customers will be reimbursed for any expenses incurred due to these disruptions. The safety and wellbeing of our customers is our highest priority, and while these issues are outside our control, we apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

British Airways echoed similar sentiments. A spokesperson said:

“Due to air traffic control restrictions and adverse weather, like other airlines, we’ve had to make a small number of schedule changes. We understand this is frustrating, and our teams are working hard to rebook affected passengers onto alternative flights, with the vast majority already accommodated on flights later today.”

Two British Airways struck by lightning

Two BA aircraft were struck by lightning on Sunday, necessitating their removal from service for safety inspections. In a statement on its website, a British Airways spokesperson highlighted ongoing issues with Air Traffic Control services, saying:

“Despite the lack of French Air Traffic Control strike disruption this summer, Air Traffic Control services continue to underperform, with repeated staff shortages. On Monday, 8 July, 21% of Ryanair’s first wave departures (134 of 579 aircraft) were delayed due to ATC staff shortages.

“These delays are unacceptable. We apologise to our passengers for these repeated Air Traffic Control flight delays, which are deeply regrettable but beyond Ryanair’s control.”

Meanwhile, the Unite union has announced that strikes by Gatwick baggage security screeners have been postponed following an “improved pay offer”. The workers, employed by ICTS, have agreed to call off industrial action scheduled from 12 to 14 July and 19 to 21 July while they ballot on the new offer.

Unite regional officer Dominic Rothwell said:

“As a sign of good faith, ICTS workers at Gatwick have postponed strike action while they ballot on the new offer. Industrial action by Wilson James workers can also be avoided, but only if the company presents an improved deal.”