Gatwick Airport is suffering more flight delays from air traffic control limits than any other major European airport, figures show.

Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, said stats from Eurocontrol showed the airport is being hit by “severe impacts”.

The revelation comes after Easyjet cancelled 1,700 flights this summer, many of which were from Gatwick.

Mr Walsh said: “While some areas of Air Traffic Control (ATC) performance have improved over 2022, we remain unacceptably behind 2019 levels.

“The most severe impacts are being seen at Europe’s most congested airports, especially London Gatwick where the performance is also affected by local ATC resource issues.

“Gatwick is now the worst-performing airport among the 31 major airports reported by Eurocontrol and sits at number 106 out of the 110 airports covered by the entire data set.

“It is disheartening that the politicians who were quick to criticise airlines last year, have remained silent about the disruption caused by government-controlled or regulated ATC providers.”

Strikes in French air traffic control as well as staff shortages and airspace closures in Ukraine mean that flight numbers have been limited across Europe.

Airspaces have repeatedly been closed in France due to strikes.

A spokesman for Gatwick, which is the UK’s second-busiest airport, said: “Flights at London Gatwick are increasingly being regulated at peak times due to the knock-on effects of air traffic control restrictions across numerous parts of Europe.

“These restrictions are beyond the control of the airport and have been put in place to manage and smooth out the flow of aircraft arriving from, and departing to, disrupted airspace across Europe.

“Multiple factors are causing airspace restrictions across Europe, including industrial action, staff shortages, the war in Ukraine and poor weather.


“Gatwick has more flights to Europe than any other UK airport and can be impacted disproportionately by disruption on the continent.

“We are working closely with our airline partners to minimise disruption and apologise to any passengers who may be inconvenienced.”

Air traffic control services at Gatwick were taken over by Nats in October, 2022. They have been approached for comment.