Passengers due to fly from Gatwick this summer may be told their flight is cancelled after the airport announced it would be putting a cap on daily operations.
Gatwick bosses have asked airlines to cut back their schedules in the hope “that passengers experience a more reliable and better standard of service”.
While the majority of passengers will fly as planned, on the busiest days, airlines will be told to cancel up to 50 flights – requiring thousands of passengers already booked on them to find alternative departures.
Passengers on easyJet will bear the brunt of the cancelled flights, with British Airways, Wizz Air, Vueling and Tui also expected to ground departures.
According to The Independent’s travel correspondent, Simon Calder, Portuguese and Spanish flight routes are likely to be the worst affected by the cuts.
He says: “For easyJet, Wizz Air and British Airways’ EuroFlyer, the most obvious flights will be high-frequency links such as London to the key Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol and Algarve airports: Alicante, Malaga and Faro respectively.
“At weekends easyJet has six or seven flights a day, and removing one or two from the schedules is probably feasible.”
That’s all from The Independent’s live coverage of flight cancellations for this evening.
If you are just joining us, here’s Simon Calder to get you up to speed:
Liam James17 June 2022 21:07
Investigation launched into death of disabled man at Gatwick
News has emerged of a tragedy involving a disabled passenger who had just arrived at Gatwick airport on Wednesday (Simon Calder writes).
Reports suggest the passenger decided to make his own way from the easyJet aircraft into the terminal, where he fell from an escalator and sustained fatal injuries.
The unnamed man was one of three “passengers with restricted mobility” (PRMs) on the aircraft who required special assistance. The plane was met by a member of staff of the aviation logistics provider Wilson James.
It is understood members of easyJet cabin crew who witnessed the accident tried to provide assistance but were unable to save him.
A Gatwick airport spokesperson said: “This is a sad and tragic incident and our thoughts remain with the family of the deceased.
Liam James17 June 2022 20:43
Cancelled easyJet passengers wrongly told five times: No alternative flights
A family whose flight was cancelled by easyJet was wrongly told five times that there were no alternative routes to the airport they were due to fly home to, The Independent can reveal (Simon Calder writes).
Once the original flight had been scrapped, the group were automatically rebooked to fly the following day to a different UK airport.
When they challenged the airline and tried to assert their entitlement to a different flight under European air passengers’ rights rules, the easyJet call centre repeatedly refused their legitimate request.
Hannah and Richard Bicknell, together with their 18-month-old child, were supposed to fly home from Faro in Portugal to Manchester airport in early July.
But just over two weeks ahead, they were told that the original flight was cancelled and they had been rebooked the following day to fly to Liverpool.
Liam James17 June 2022 19:30
Airport staff could work longer hours if they wanted, says minister
A business minister has a suggestion for airline staff troubled by the current airport chaos: work longer hours.
The aviation industry is suffering from staff shortages after letting thousands of people go during the coronavirus pandemic.
Business minister Paul Scully said there were 1.3 million vacancies across the country in various sectors but there are also “people who have recalibrated what they want to do when they were on furlough”.
He told Sky News: “We want to make sure that those people that are not necessarily working full time, through Universal Credit we can get them back in to work to be more productive, if that suits them, and obviously match them up with the sectors where there are those vacancies.”
When asked whether this meant people working longer hours, he said: “I’m not talking about going out forcing people to do anything, but we just want to make sure that they’re matched up properly so that it’s just that those people who can work longer – that want to work longer – can do.”
Liam James17 June 2022 18:40
easyJet aims to rebook for majority of passengers on culled Gatwick flights
EasyJet said it was “reviewing the details” of Gatwick’s summer flight cap but insisted it expected to be able to “reaccommodate the majority” of passengers should their flight be affected.
Passengers of the budget airline will bear the brunt of the cancellations in July and August, when the maximum number of monthly departures per airline from Britain’s second-busiest airport will be cut to 825 and 850 respectively.
An easyJet spokesman said the airline expected to be able to put majority of affected customers onto different flights.
The airline’s statement in full read: “We are aware of the capacity cap announced by Gatwick Airport and are now reviewing the details to assess what this means for easyJet’s Gatwick operation.
“We recognise the need for Gatwick Airport to do this, as airports across Europe have visibility across all airlines and are well placed to decide what capacity is realistic in the current challenging operating environment so all airlines can provide reliable services for their customers.
“Given the high frequencies of our services to and from Gatwick, we expect to be able to reaccommodate the majority of customers should their flight be affected by the cap.”
Liam James17 June 2022 17:40
Long delays at Gatwick ahead of busy weekend
Short-notice cancellations have eased at London Gatwick, but the departure screens are showing some long delays.
Afternoon and evening flights experiencing delays of three hours or more include:
- British Airways to Cagliari
- easyJet to Kos, Athens
- Wizz Air to Tel Aviv
Many passengers are arriving well behind schedule, including British Airways from Cancun (five hours late) and easyJet from Nantes (two hours).
But the overnight arrivals from Spain, Turkey and Mauritius are on schedule.
Simon Calder17 June 2022 17:17
Gatwick flights cull: A positive move – for most
In today’s travel podcast for The Independent, from Gatwick airport, Simon Calder explains why he believes the cancellation order from the UK’s second-busiest airport is a positive move.
While it’s a real pain for the 5 per cent of travellers who will need to rearrange their travel, it enhances the chances of the other 95 per cent having a relatively stress-free trip. Harsh, but effective (the announcement, not Simon).
“Gatwick has come out and done pretty much the right thing – which is to say to the airlines, come on chaps, you haven’t been able to deliver what you promised you would, so we are going to require you to cut back on your flights.”
Listen to today’s episode here:
June 17th – Gatwick plans to cancel some summer flights | Simon Calder’s Independent Travel Podcast on Acast
Airline passengers booked to fly from Gatwick this summer could be contacted and told their flight has been cancelled. The Sussex airport, the second busiest in the UK after Heathrow, has announced plans to cap operations in July and August – with airlines instructed to cut some departures. Simon Calder is at Gatwick airport for us – with some reassurance. Of course, this podcast is free as is my weekly newsletter, which you can get every Friday: https://www.independent.co.uk/newsletters See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Simon Calder17 June 2022 16:56
Is BA planning any last-minute cancellations?
Earlier this week, a reader asked me: “Is BA cancelling flights at short notice? We’re flying to Iceland on Sunday, and they cancelled the return flight a few weeks ago so I rebooked for the flight on the following day.”
British Airways has cancelled many thousands of flights this summer – the airline says almost 20,000, which works out as about 100 per day. Unlike other carriers, almost all of the cancellations are being announced – as in your case – some weeks ahead.
Of course there will always be on-the-day disruption, and in any summer a couple of flights from a big airline like BA may be cancelled, but I would give you good odds that the flight will go ahead without a problem.
Of course if you are unfortunately grounded at short notice, then you can look at alternatives such as the excellent Icelandair to get you to Reykjavík.
Read on for five more burning travel questions about this summer’s flight cancellations:
Simon Calder17 June 2022 16:36
Are Ryanair staff planning strikes this summer?
The only confirmed strikes announced by airline staff are those by its Spanish crew, set to take place on 24, 25, 26 and 30 June, as well as on 1-2 July.
Spain’s USO and SITCPLA unions agreed to the industrial action following a dispute over pay and working conditions. It follows the walk-outs by French staff for the airline on 12 and 13 June.
In a joint statement, the two Spanish unions said that Ryanair has made few improvements to working conditions despite several attempts at mediation.
A Ryanair spokesperson has said: “Ryanair has negotiated collective agreements covering 90 per cent of our people across Europe. In recent months we have been negotiating improvements to those agreements as we work through the Covid recovery phase.
“Those negotiations are going well and we do not expect widespread disruption this summer.”
Lucy Thackray17 June 2022 16:17
Downing Street ‘welcomes’ Gatwick decision to cap flights
A Downing Street spokesperson said on Friday that the government welcomed Gatwick’s announcement that it will cap the number of flights it handles during June and July, with a spokesman saying the move will “provide certainty for passengers ahead of time”.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, the chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership – which represents travel firms – also praised the move, calling it a “proactive” strategy.
“Gatwick’s decision to cap flights for July and August provides a proactive solution to addressing some of the challenging scenes we saw over the course of May half-term, ahead of a busy summer season in July and August,” she told the BBC.
“It’s important to note that in the vast number of cases travellers are travelling as planned with no disruption and most flights will not be cancelled due to this cap.
“By imposing this flight cap on departures from Gatwick in advance of the summer season it reduces the risk of any last-minute disruptions and remains the duty of airlines to communicate any changes in good time.
“I am confident that everyone across the travel ecosystem is working very hard to support their customers and provide the best possible service for anyone travelling this summer.”
“Certainty is what we all need and what we are desperately trying to do now in rebuilding the industry is to make sure we can give certainty back to customers,” added Ms Bue-Said.
Lucy Thackray17 June 2022 15:56
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