Simon Calder warns of 'serious problem' as covid takes down Gatwick  'airlines are furious!'

Simon Calder warns of 'serious problem' as covid takes down Gatwick  'airlines are furious!'
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 26/09/2023

- 08:27

Simon Calder has warned of more flight cancellations at Gatwick Airport, following an outbreak of coronavirus among the Air Traffic Control Team.

Speaking to Eamonn Holmes and Isabel Webster on GB News Breakfast, the travel expert highlighted the ‘serious problem’ and how it will impact travellers.

Calder said: “30% of the air traffic controllers who are qualified to work in the tower at Gatwick, and these are incredibly professional men and women. It takes a very long time to train them up. 30% of them are off sick and some of them indeed have COVID, which appears to have been been program a problem which has reappeared to haunt the traveller.

“Gatwick Airport is now trying to get ahead of the problem by saying right to NATs, the air traffic control provider, how many flights can you honestly promise you can run for the rest of this week till Sunday?

"And they've said 800, and they had a look and they've seen right okay Tuesday, today, we've got 800, we've got 800 on Saturday as well. But the other dates are over that. And so therefore we are going to instruct the airlines to cancel flights to bring that down to just 800. In total, 184 flights will be cancelled."

Calder continued: "If you start thinking, well, I'm not sure I've seen all these cancellations, yes, it could be a problem. That's why Gatwick is is really alarmed about this. I mean they knew that there were staffing difficulties and lots of places across Europe have had this problem, basically because during COVID they were not training air traffic controllers, partly because they didn't have any money because nobody knew if we'd be flying normally again and partly because it was very, you know, they were trying to keep number of people working to a minimum.

"So lots of people have this problem, but Gatwick's degree of sickness is now so high that the airport has come out and said this is terrible. And the airlines are furious because not only do they have to upset their passengers and say, sorry, you're not flying, although actually they'll probably be moved to adjacent flights, then if people cancel, they have to hand back the money. If people need to be put up in hotels, that's the bill for the they put that bill then as well."

Watch the discussion in full above.

Tune in to Breakfast with Eamonn and Isabel, Monday to Thursday from 6am, only on GB News.

Latest News videos

Don't Miss

Best of News

Latest videos

More videos