A shortage of air traffic controllers has caused chaos at Gatwick Airport, resulting in a call for a change in management.
The airport confirmed 22 cancellations at 10pm last night (Thursday) while flight trackers suggest that scores of flights were delayed or diverted.
The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) issued an apology and the airport said it expected a normal service to be resumed by today (Friday). The problems happened just two weeks after a brief outage of NATS’ computer caused a week of disruption across UK airspace.
During the disruption, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary called for NATS CEO, Martin Rolfe, to resign. Saying that the CAA should ‘immediately intervene’ to protect passengers from these ‘avoidable’ disruptions, Michael O’Leary said: “It is unacceptable that more flights and hundreds of passengers are suffering delays to/from Gatwick Airport for a third time in just two weeks 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. We call on Martin Rolfe to immediately resign and hand the job over to someone competent enough to do it.”