Airlines demand compensation for Gatwick closure - Gatwick Airport News

Airport news for Gatwick on 15/12/2008.

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When the airport operator failed to de-ice the runway before dawn on Friday morning, the result was hundreds of delayed, diverted or cancelled flights.

The airport operator, BAA, placed the blame on “exceptional weather conditions,” during which no flights were able to land at or take off from the airport. The closure lasted from 5:50am until 10:30, with the travel plans of thousands of passengers disrupted.

Both BA and easyJet, which operate approximately 50 per cent of the flights at Gatwick, assert that the closure could have been averted.

“BAA must be the only organisation in the south-east that didn’t prepare for yesterday’s bad weather,” said a spokesman for easyJet. “It is like the bad old days of British Rail closing down lines and blaming ‘the wrong kind of snow’ – it's an absolute disgrace.”

The spokesman went on to say that compensation to the airlines would have to be addressed by BAA, noting that the disruption was extremely costly to the airlines affected.

Thirty-two easyJet flights were delayed by up to five hours, and five others had to be diverted to Luton and Stansted airports.

A BA spokeswoman noted that one-fourth of its services for the day had to be cancelled, and said that the episode was “unacceptable.”

“Our priority is to ensure this cannot happen again, and we are seeking urgent discussions with BAA,” the spokeswoman added.

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