Gatwick Airport has apologised to passengers after several flights were delayed or cancelled due to Air Traffic Control shortages.

The airport said it was “very sorry” after flights to the airport were diverted to other airports including Bournemouth and Cardiff.

Other flights were held in the air around the airport with many planes delayed or cancelled into the evening.

Taking to social media, a spokesman for Gatwick Airport said they were “very sorry for any inconvenience caused”.


The airport added: “Temporary air traffic control restrictions are in place due to short notice absence in the Air Traffic Control tower.”

Flight tracking website Flight Radar showed a series of delays late into the evening on Thursday, September 14, with others reporting cancellations on social media.

A number of planes were held in the air above Sussex including near Gatwick and Battle in East Sussex.

The shortages come after short staff from Air Traffic Control provider National Air Traffic Service (Nats) at Gatwick.

Disruption took place from as early as 5pm yesterday and continued late into the evening.

Nats said: “Air traffic control restrictions were been put in place due to a short notice staff absence affecting our air traffic control team at Gatwick Airport.

“We are working closely with the airport to ensure we can handle flights with as little disruption as possible and we apologise very sincerely to people who have been inconvenienced [as a result of unavoidable diversions].

“We are working closely with Gatwick Airport Ltd to build resilience in the airport’s control tower to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

“New air traffic controllers have been recruited since last summer, increasing our presence by 17%, and others are due to start after completing their training, in line with the agreed plan when Nats took over the contract last October.

“London Gatwick’s senior management understands that we are working hard to keep the operation moving. Airlines operating at London Gatwick were aware of the situation when Nats was appointed but that does not dilute the apology we offer sincerely to them and their passengers who have been inconvenienced by recent disruption.”

Gatwick confirmed that they expected normal service to resume as of this morning.