Gatwick cuts dozens of flights over the summer amid staff shortage chaos

Gatwick has said the reduction allows airlines to manage more predictable timetables.

Gatwick to cut number of flights over the summer to aid staff shortages iStock
The airport is planning to limit its number of daily flights to 825 in July and 850.

London’s Gatwick Airport is reducing the number of daily flights during its busy summer period to help tackle staffing issues.

The airport is planning to limit its number of daily flights to 825 in July and 850 in August compared to a reported 900 daily flights during the same time period in previous years.

It said the decision was taken following a review of its operations and that it is “temporarily moderating its rate of growth” for two months to help passengers “experience a more reliable and better standard of service”.

Gatwick added that the reduction allows airlines to manage more predictable timetables and help the ground handling companies during the school holidays, adding that the vast majority of scheduled flights this summer will operate as normal.

Its airport review found that a number of companies based at Gatwick are continuing to operate with a severe lack of staff resources over the summer holiday period.

The airport warned that if the issue was not addressed, passengers could experience queues, delays and cancellations.

It comes after a busy Jubilee holiday week, which saw more than 150 flights being cancelled across the UK on the eve of the Jubilee.

Airline passengers have been hit by disruption for several months, with the situation worsening that week due to the rise in demand sparked by the half-term school holiday and the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend.

The aviation industry is suffering from staff shortages after letting thousands of people go during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gatwick said it operated around 800 flights a day during the Jubilee week.

Chief executive of Gatwick Airport Stewart Wingate 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.”