Gatwick Airport departures: airport confirms 150 flights cancelled as cap extended for extra two weeks

The airport said its 800-flight limit has been extended until 15 October due to a shortage of air traffic control staff

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Gatwick Airport has confirmed that its limit on its number of flights will continue for two more weeks seeing more cancellations and passengers affected.

The airport said that its 800-flight limit which was imposed last week has been extended for 14 days.

It added that it expects 150 flight cancellations over this period.

A daily 800-flight limit, affecting both departures and arrivals, was imposed last Monday (25 September) until Sunday (1 October) due to staffing problems caused by sickness.

National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said 30% of its Gatwick Airport tower staff were unavailable for a variety of medical reasons, including Covid.

Gatwick cancels 150 flights as cap extended for two more weeks. (Photo: Getty Images) Gatwick cancels 150 flights as cap extended for two more weeks. (Photo: Getty Images)
Gatwick cancels 150 flights as cap extended for two more weeks. (Photo: Getty Images)

At the time London Gatwick’s chief executive Stewart Wingate described the move as “a difficult decision”, but said it was needed to create “reliable flight programmes” amid ongoing work with Nats to “build resilience in the control tower”.

Nats said it is “very sorry” that staff being off ill “will have an almost immediate impact” on the airport.

The company said it has been “very clear that we inherited a staff shortage when we took over the contract last autumn” and it is “working to return the team to full strength”.

Nats confirmed it is working to a plan agreed with the London airport to “deliver further resilience ahead of summer 2024”.

Gatwick Airport has released an updated statement, saying that the airport has “decided to extend the temporary limit on daily flight movements as a precautionary measure through to 15 October 2023” following “further discussions with NATS and the airlines”.

The airport added: “The limit has been extended for a further two weeks to prevent delays and last-minute cancellations for passengers. As the overall flight schedule has reduced now the summer season is coming to an end, on many days there will be no impact on our operation.

“Passengers are advised to check the status of their flights with their airlines. We would like to apologise for the continued disruption and to the passengers who have been impacted by the restrictions.”

It comes after the airport was slammed as a “f*****g embarrassment” on Monday (25 September) over its delays to a number of flights.

Matt Catlin posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, questioned how Gatwick Airport can “call itself an airport” after he had a “long delay getting home”.

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