Gatwick Airport is set to reduce the number of daily flights to help tackle issues over staffing after a number of last-minute cancellations caused havoc for holidaymakers.
The airport, London's second busiest, will limit daily take-offs and landings to 825 in July and 850 in August after the decision was taken following a review of its operations.
The measures have been taken to help passengers “experience a more reliable and better standard of service" after plans over the Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend and half-term holiday caused chaos for some.
Its airport review found that a number of companies such as easyJet and Lufthansa, based at Gatwick, have already announced plans to reduce flights this summer are continuing to operate with a severe lack of staff resources over the summer period.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick's chief executive, says they have successfully recruited 400 new colleagues
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 celebrations.
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.
Grant Shapps, Britain's transport secretary, told airlines to 'stop selling tickets' if they can't honour the flights
“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.”
Grant Shapps, Britain's transport secretary, told airlines earlier this month to stop selling flights they cannot staff after a spate of cancellations.
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