When news broke of a tragedy involving a disabled passenger who had just arrived at Gatwick, the airport announced plans to curtail operations in July and August.
The announcement to curtail departures and arrivals was planned ahead of Wednesday’s incident at the airport’s North Terminal involving a passenger who had arrived on an easyJet flight.
The sun reports that while the passenger’s wife, who also required special assistance, was taken off the Airbus plane, he was left behind. After an hour of waiting, he decided to try to get from the plane to the terminal on his own. He fell on an escalator and suffered fatal injuries.
EasyJet cabin crew who witnessed the accident tried to help him but were unable to save him.
The death highlights the scarcity of resources at Gatwick and other airports.
At least 50 easyJet departures and arrivals grounded at Gatwick on Thursday, along with onward flights on British Airways and Wizz Air. An estimated 10,000 passengers did not travel as booked.
Stuart Dempster, who hoped to fly from Lisbon to Gatwick, tweeted: “@easyJet is canceling our short-term flight from Lisbon to London, with the usual chaotic ‘assistance’ to support passengers. Rebooked tomorrow at @tapairportugal, hoping to get home. I will never fly with easyJet again!”
Now, two weeks before the start of the July-August peak season, Gatwick airport bosses have asked airlines to shorten their proposed schedules in the hopes “that passengers will experience a more reliable and better level of service”.
The plan is to cut spending now, rather than risk even more troubling cancellations “on the day.”
On the busiest days, airlines will be told to cancel up to 50 flights, forcing thousands of passengers already booked on them to find alternative departures.
The airport statement said: “After a significant and rapid uptick in traffic, Gatwick Airport is working with airlines to implement deliverable schedules to avoid short-term and last-minute cancellations.
“Sufficient resources for ground handling companies will cause poor service and delays this summer unless urgent action is taken.”
The airport has agreed with airlines to reduce planned operations from up to 900 departures and arrivals to 825 in July and 850 in August.
Airport Coordination Ltd, the body that allocates take-off and landing slots at Gatwick and other hubs, will determine the number of cancellations each airline must make.
easyJet passengers will be affected by the canceled flights, and British Airways, Wizz Air, Tui, Norwegian and Ryanair are also expected to depart from the ground.
Under European air passenger rights rules, any passenger whose flight has been canceled can insist on being rebooked on the same day if a seat is available, even if the airline leaving the original place of departure has purchased a ticket from a competing airline. airline has to pay.
The airport’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “Gatwick has prepared well for the relaunch of international travel by successfully reopening our South Terminal.
“We are also working closely with our airlines to avoid inconvenience to passengers this summer, and while more newly hired staff will start working in the coming weeks, we know it will be a busy summer.
“However, it is clear that during the anniversary week, a number of companies operating at the airport struggled mainly due to staff shortages.
“By acting decisively now, we want to help ground handlers – as well as our airlines – to better align their flight programs with their available resources.
“As has been the case, the vast majority of flights will run normally during the summer, and the steps taken today mean that our passengers can expect a more reliable and better level of service, while also improving the conditions for the staff on the flight. airport.”