Gatwick cuts summer flights after staff shortageson June 17, 2022 at 4:05 am

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The airport says it will lead to a more reliable service, after a wave of cancellations and delays.

Queues at Gatwick AirportImage source, EPA

Gatwick Airport is reducing the number of flights during the peak summer period due to staff shortages.

The number of daily flights will be cut to 825 in July and 850 in August, down from 900 in previous years.

It comes after the government and regulators wrote to airlines telling them to ensure their summer timetables were “deliverable”.

Tens of thousands of passengers have been hit by cancellations and delays at UK airports in recent weeks.

Gatwick said it had taken the decision to temporarily reduce flights following a review of its operations, to help passengers “experience a more reliable and better standard of service”.

Stewart Wingate, the airport’s chief executive, said that during the week of the Jubilee a number of companies operating at the airport had struggled because of staff shortages.

“By taking decisive action now, we aim to help the ground handlers – and also our airlines – to better match their flying programmes with their available resources,” he said.

More than 150 flights across the UK were cancelled during the week of the Platinum Jubilee, as many people tried to take advantage of the four-day weekend to travel.

Airlines also suffered severe disruption during spikes in demand at the half-term school holiday and during Easter, prompting apologies from companies such as British Airways, TUI and EasyJet.

Gatwick said it had recruited 400 new staff to help passengers pass through security checks this summer and more new recruits would start in the coming weeks.

But the airport’s review found that many companies based at the airport still had a severe lack of staff and if the issue was not addressed, passengers could experience queues delays and cancellations.

The aviation industry made thousands of employees redundant during the pandemic and many have yet to be replaced, despite a spike in demand for travel.

Following a wave of cancellations and delays at airports, the Department of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority wrote to airlines telling them to review their schedules and to cancel flights that could not be delivered “at the earliest possibility”.

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