AN AIRPORT is reducing the number of flights during the peak summer period due to staff shortages.

The number of daily flights at Gatwick Airport in Sussex will be cut to 825 in July and 850 in August - down from 900 in previous years.

After tens of thousands of passengers were hit with cancellations and delays in recent weeks, the airport said it has chosen to temporarily reduce flights following a review of its operations to help passengers "experience a more reliable and better standard of service".

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport CEO, said celebrations a number of companies operating at the airport had struggled during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations 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," he said.

“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.”

Mr Wingate said the move to reduce the number of flights follows a “significant and rapid upturn in air traffic levels”.

Across the jubilee week, around 800 flights used the runway on average each day.

Meanwhile, more than 10 million passengers have travelled through the airport in the first six months of this year.

A review found that a number of companies based at Gatwick are operating with “a severe lack of staff resources” and will continue to over the summer holiday period.

If not addressed, this issue would see airport passengers continuing to experience an unreliable and potentially poor standard of service, including more queues, delays and last-minute cancellations, the airport said.

By controlling and gradually increasing the maximum number of flights - until the end of August - the airport aims to help both its airlines and ground handling companies improve the service they provide by reducing the number of flights they need to manage.

In particular, this will aim to benefit ground handling companies, who are employed by the airlines and are responsible for managing check-in areas, turning aircraft around on the airfield ready for departure and loading and delivering baggage back to passengers.