Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Summer holiday chaos as easyJet cancels 1,700 flights to and from Gatwick due to air traffic control delays
10 July 2023, 09:37
easyJet has cancelled 1,700 flights from its Gatwick base, sparking summer holiday chaos for thousands of passengers for over 100,000 passengers.
Nearly 180,000 people have had flights cancelled at short notice, with flights in July, August and September affected.
There are currently around 9,000 passengers left without an alternative route.
easyJet says it has booked 95 per cent of passengers on replacement flights.
Passengers whose flights are canceled in this way are entitled to travel on alternative airlines with seats available - on the same day, at the expense of the airline they initially booked with.
Passengers whose flights are grounded with less than two weeks’ notice are also entitled to cash compensation of £220 - rising to £350 for flights about 1,500km.
easyJet has cited ‘unprecedented’ air traffic control delays for the disruption, saying they are three times longer than pre-pandemic levels.
However the Independent has reported the airline doesn’t have enough pilots to cover its summer schedule.
Over 40 flights to and from Gatwick were cancelled on Saturday, leaving more than 6,000 passengers affected. Dozens more flights were cancelled on Sunday too - with some passengers saying they were only notified of the cancellation once they got to the departure gate.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive, Advantage Travel Partnership, told The Independent: “This is really going to be devastating for many families and people who are looking forward to their plans and ready to depart.
“Trying to source new flights at the last minute won’t be helpful for anybody.”
Over the weekend, neither Ryanair nor Jet2 made any cancellations, despite the disruption caused by the arrival of US President Joe Biden on Air Force One which suspended normal operations.
Gatwick is the world’s busiest single runway airport.
A spokesman for easyJet said: “We are currently operating up to around 1,800 flights and carrying around 250,000 customers per day and like all airlines, we review our flights on an ongoing basis.
“As Eurocontrol has stated, the whole industry is seeing challenging conditions this summer with more constrained air space due to the war in Ukraine resulting in unprecedented ATC [air-traffic control] delays, as well as further potential ATC strike action.
“We have therefore made some pre-emptive adjustments to our programme consolidating a small number of flights at Gatwick, where we have multiple daily frequencies, in order to help mitigate these external challenges on the day of travel for our customers.
“Customers whose flights are affected are being informed, with 95 per cent of customers being rebooked onto an alternative flight and all customers provided with the option to rebook or receive a refund.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”