Gatwick Airport cancels 4,000 flights this summer to avoid repeat of 'challenging Jubilee weekend'

Gatwick Airport is temporarily moderating its rate of growth for July and August by forcing airlines to cancel 4,000 summer flights.

Following a further review of its operation, and on behalf of travellers, the Airport says it is putting in place a gradually increasing capacity level at the airport, which aligns its growth trajectory with airlines and ground handler’s resource capabilities.

Gatwick believes this action will then allow airlines to fly and manage more predictable and reliable flight programmes for the rest of the peak school summer holiday period.

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This week the government has ordered airlines to cancel flights for July and August now to “de-risk the summer” for tens of thousands of passengers.

Stewart Wingate, CEO Gatwick Airport.

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During this peak holiday period, the airport will carefully and gradually increase its declared capacity - starting at 825 flights a day in July and then up to 850 flights a day in August – so that passengers experience a more reliable and better standard of service. The flight cancellations is set to affect 800,000 passengers this month, according to the Telegraph.

The move follows a significant and rapid upturn in air traffic levels at Gatwick saw around 800 flights use the runway on average each day over a challenging Jubilee weekend.

Gatwick has already seen over 10million passengers travel through the airport in the first six months of this year and is committed to helping its airline customers to deliver the best and most reliable service possible over the next few months.

The airport review found that a number of companies based at Gatwick are, and will continue to, operate with a severe lack of staff resources over the summer holiday period.

If not addressed, this issue would see airport passengers continuing to experience an unreliable and potentially poor standard of service, including more queues, delays and last-minute cancellations – which has seen unmanageable queues in airports across the country since travel restrictions were eased.

Gatwick says by carefully controlling and gradually increasing the maximum number of flights over time - until the end of August - the airport aims to help both its airlines and their ground handling companies improve the service they provide by reducing the number of flights they need to manage.

In particular, this will benefit ground handling companies, who are employed by the airlines and are responsible for managing check in areas, turning aircraft round on the airfield ready for departure, and loading and delivering baggage back to passengers.

The airport says it remains imperative that each airline also reviews its operational capabilities and puts flight schedules in place that are both realistic and aligned with available crew and ground handling resources.

The vast majority of scheduled flights this summer will operate as normal, and the move to carefully manage the airport’s declared capacity is designed to provide passengers with a better, more predictable level of service.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport said: “Gatwick prepared well for the restart of international travel by successfully reopening our South Terminal and we have now successfully recruited 400 new colleagues to help us process passengers quickly through security this summer. We are also working closely with our airlines to avoid disruption to passengers this summer, and while more newly recruited staff will start work in coming weeks, we know it will be a busy summer.

“However, it is clear that during the Jubilee week a number of companies operating at the airport struggled in particular, 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.

“As has already been the case, the vast majority of flights over the summer will operate as normal, and the steps taken today mean that our passengers can expect a more reliable and better standard of service, while also improving conditions for staff working at the airport.

“I am immensely grateful to all our staff for their tireless work over the last few months to get the airport back up and running, and for helping get passengers away on their travels.”

See the latest Gatwick Airport news here.

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