Gatwick Airport departures: which flights are delayed today - why are there problems at the London airport?

Passengers say the situation is “absolutely pathetic” and a “joke” as a lack of air traffic control staff causes huge delays

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Thousands of airline passengers have been impacted by cancelled, delayed or diverted flights at Gatwick Airport last night (Thursday 14 September) due to a lack of air traffic control staff (ATC).

One passenger at the airport called Mark posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had a “two hour delay tonight and counting”, adding that “Gatwick is a s*** show”.

Another passenger, Neeraj Chandi, said on the social media platform: “@Gatwick_Airport @easyJet appalling situation at Gatwick today with air traffic control. Cancelled flight to Berlin and no alternate flights all weekend.”

Matt Whelan shared on X photos of huge queues forming at passport control, describing the airport as “useless”.

He said: “Absolutely pathetic @Gatwick_Airport! Flight delayed due to lack of ATCs and now passport control is jammed with no grates and half the counters closed!!! Useless.”

The airport confirmed a short notice staff absence in its ATC tower, managed by National Air Traffic Services (Nats), which meant 42 flights were cancelled or diverted while dozens more were heavily delayed on Thursday.

More than 6,000 passengers are likely to have been affected by cancellations.

‘S*** show’ at major UK airport as dozens of flights cancelled. (Photo: Getty Images) ‘S*** show’ at major UK airport as dozens of flights cancelled. (Photo: Getty Images)
‘S*** show’ at major UK airport as dozens of flights cancelled. (Photo: Getty Images)

It comes just over two weeks after a Nats technical glitch caused widespread disruption at airports across the UK, leaving thousands of holidaymakers stranded overseas for several days.

Jessica Cholmondeley posted on X asked if it was a “joke” that her flight with British Airways was delayed.

She said: “@Gatwick_Airport BA2821 delayed at least 2.5hrs as there aren’t enough staff at LGW?! Is this a joke? @British_Airways no offer of water + it’s €6 a bottle at the airport! Delayed out & now back #santorini”

Gatwick Airport responded to Ms Cholmondeley on the social media platform saying: “Due to staff shortages in the Air Traffic Control tower, temporary air traffic control restrictions have been put in place this afternoon, resulting in some delays. London Gatwick would like to apologise.”

Several flights were also diverted away from Gatwick Airport to a range of others including Bournemouth, Cardiff, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted.

The first diverted arrival was a British Airways flight from Faro, Portugal, according to PA news agency analysis of flight tracking data. It was due to touch down at 3.35pm, but landed at Cardiff Airport instead.

Fourteen departures and 12 arrivals were cancelled at Gatwick on Thursday evening.

Gatwick Airport later said an additional air traffic controller was put in place and restrictions were reducing, allowing more aircraft to arrive and depart.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has called on Nats chief executive to resign, saying it is “unacceptable” that “more flights and hundreds of passengers are suffering delays”.

Mr O’Leary said: “It is unacceptable that more flights and hundreds of passengers are suffering delays to/from Gatwick Airport due to Nats CEO Martin Rolfe’s blatant failure to adequately staff UK ATC.

“Airlines are paying millions of pounds to Nats each and every year and should not have to see their passengers suffer avoidable delays due to UK ATC staff shortages.”

An easyJet spokesperson said: “We are very disappointed that customers are once again impacted by this and while this is outside of our control, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers.

“We are doing all possible to minimise the impact of the disruption, notifying those on cancelled flights of options to rebook or receive a refund and provided hotel accommodation and meals where required.”

Gatwick Airport told NationalWorld that the “the tower is fully staffed” and the “airport is operating as normal today (Friday 15 September).

Which flights are delayed today from Gatwick Airport?

Listed are the flights departing from Gatwick Airport that are delayed on Friday 15 September.

  • 07:55 easyJet flight to Isle of Man EZY839 - delayed to 08:30
  • 08:05 Tui flight to Antalya TOM642 - delayed to 09:25
  • 08:20 WizzAir flight to Catania W95793 - delayed to 09:40
  • 09:05 easyJet flight to Milan Malpensa EJU8303 - delayed to 09:33
  • 09:10 easyJet flight to Palma Mallorca EJU8095 - delayed to 09:52
  • 09:25 easyJet flight to Valencia EZY8011 - delayed to 10:30
  • 09:40 easyJet flight to Split EZY8597 - delayed to 10:45
  • 12:25 American Airlines to Tampa AA6211 - delayed to 14:24
  • 12:25 British Airways flight to Tampa BA2167 - delayed to 14:24
  • 14:30 American Airways flight to Orlando AA6202 - delayed to 15:10
  • 14:30 British Airways flight to Orlando BA2039 - delayed to 15:10
  • 15:00 British Airways flight to New York BA2273 - delayed to 15:52