The world’s busiest runway at Gatwick Airport was closed for two hours, shortly after 5:00pm, yesterday due to issues with the Air Traffic Control system. A large number of flights to and from the airport were cancelled yesterday and the delays are continuing this morning.
According to The Independent, airlines are struggling to get their planes and cabin crew to where they need to be.
British Airways and easyJet have cancelled inbound flights and a Norwegian flight from JFK, New York to Gatwick has been delayed for 11 hours. Due to the nature of the delays and cancellations it is unlikely compensation will be provided by the affected airlines.
Under the Civil Aviation Authority’s regulations, incidents which are not directly related to the airline i.e. issues with air traffic control and extreme weather conditions are classed as ‘extraordinary circumstances’. Whilst the airline has a duty of care to rebook its passengers on the next available flight and provide overnight accommodation if necessary, when an extraordinary circumstance arises no compensation is provided.
Passengers can check their travel insurance policy to see if they are entitled to compensation. Most travel insurance companies will pay compensation for delayed flights. The terms and conditions will differ between policies but generally most will pay a set amount of compensation (usually around £10.00) for each 12-hour block you are delayed, up to a total amount. There are some policies that pay out after 6-hours and offer higher amounts, so this is something to check.
Passengers due to fly to and from Gatwick today should check the status of their flight with their airline before heading to the airport.
This is not the first time Gatwick has been affected by severe delays. Just before Christmas last year, over 160,000 passengers had their travel plans disrupted after the runway was closed for 33 hours due to drone activity.