London’s Gatwick Airport on Tuesday canceled a number of flights at short notice due to staff shortages.
Up to 26 EasyJet flights flying into and out of the UK’s second busiest airport were grounded. The airport confirmed that 13 arrivals and 13 departures belonging to the airline and scheduled for Tuesday were axed.
"At 7am, restrictions were put on the number of flights that can arrive into Gatwick due to late-notice staff absence in the airport's control tower,” a statement from the airport said.
"Some flights throughout the day may unfortunately be delayed or cancelled as a result. Gatwick would like to apologise for any inconvenience this will cause to our passengers,” the statement added.
Staff working in the airport’s air traffic control tower are privately employed by the Air Navigation Solutions (ANS) company.
The abrupt cancellations were made after Gatwick had reported a modest recovery following major disruptions brought on by the pandemic and the subsequent staff shortages that have plagued the aviation industry this year.
Like many airports across the UK, Gatwick introduced a daily flight cap intended to offer a more streamlined and effective service to passengers using the airport. However, after recruiting an extra 400 security staff, the airport announced it would not extend the flight cap.
In contrast, Heathrow Airport, the UK’s largest and busiest, announced an extension on its flight cap until the end of October and on Monday, British Airways canceled 10,000 of its flights arriving in and departing from the airport due to ensuing staff shortages.
Staff shortages have also disrupted London’s City Airport. Although smaller than Heathrow and Gatwick, City Airport handles direct flights into the UK’s capital.
The UK’s transport sector, including its rail, subway and bus services, has experienced major disruptions this week after a number of workers launched strikes. Earlier in the summer, staff shortages had forced many train, subway and bus stations to close and caused disruptions for many travelers.