Travellers at London Gatwick Airport have been left stranded after 42 flights were diverted or cancelled on Thursday 14 September.
The lack of air traffic control (ATC) staff is to blame for these issues.
The airport confirmed a short notice staff absence in its ATC tower, managed by the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), leading to the 42 cancelled or diverted flights, while many others were heavily delayed.
It is believed that more than 6,000 passengers are likely to be affected.
This ATC problem comes only couple of weeks after NATS suffered a technical issue with its systems, causing major disruption on the late August bank holiday.
In a statement, NATS said: “We are continuing to work closely with the airport to ensure we can help airlines recover their operations as quickly as possible and we apologise very sincerely to everyone who has been inconvenienced.”
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary is calling on the resignation of NATS Chief Executive Martin Rolfe after recent ATC problems.
“It is unacceptable that more flights and hundreds of passengers are suffering delays to/from Gatwick Airport for a third time in just two weeks due to NATS chief executive, Martin Rolfe’s blatant failure to adequately staff UK ATC,” he said. “Airlines are paying millions of pounds to NATS each and every year and should not have to see their passengers suffer avoidable delays due to UK ATC staff shortages.”
Delays are expected to continue into today (Friday 15 September) and over the weekend.