AN AIRPORT has had to temporarily cut part of its air traffic control operation due to a series of resignations within the team.

Over the past three months, Shoreham Airport has faced increasing challenges due to three of its air traffic controllers, who direct aircrafts on the ground and in controlled airspace, resigning and moving to work at other airports.

The airport will keep running its air traffic control operation from Tuesday to Friday but will only be providing a bookable air-ground service from Saturday to Monday as part of its revised short-term schedule.

The Argus was contacted by a resident who branded the current situation at the airport as a “crisis”.

The source, who asked not to be named, said: “This is the worst situation facing Shoreham in all my years here and will have a very serious impact on aircraft operators.

“It raises serious safety concerns too as Shoreham is one of the busiest airports in the UK, especially at weekends.

“This will naturally have a serious impact on the airport’s income.

“I thought the public deserve to be made aware of the serious nature of this situation.”

The airport has since confirmed that despite initial concerns, it would not be completely losing its air traffic control operation as part of the revised schedule.

It has apologised to all of its airport-based operators, pilots and businesses who rely on making their income through the airport’s operations.

For the temporary air-ground operation, permission will be required by aircrafts prior to their arrival, meaning they must make a booking with the air traffic control team.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Shoreham Airport said: “Over the past three months, three of our controllers have given their notice and moved to more lucrative posts at other, local airports.

“There is a worldwide shortage of air traffic controllers and it is natural for members of our young, ambitious team to seek more lucrative employment.

“Ours is not a unique situation and other similarly sized airports have recently had to make closures due to staff shortages.

“We have already recruited new staff and are in the process of interviewing further candidates.

“This revised, short-term option allows us time to train and standardise new staff, including two of our assistants, who will be sponsored through their full ATC training to strengthen the airport’s team.

“Safety is paramount, and we aim to maintain the highest possible level of service, with the aerodrome remaining operational as much as possible.”