EasyJet to cancel more than 200 half-term flights from Gatwick

EasyJet is to cancel more than 200 flights over the next 10 days, causing disruption for families heading abroad on half-term holidays.

The airline said about 24 flights a day from London’s Gatwick airport would be cancelled between 28 May and 6 June.

It said the cancellations were necessary “to provide reliable services over this busy period”.

The Department for Transport (DfT) urged people to check the latest advice before travelling to the port of Dover.

The DfT has warned that the roads in Kent are “extremely busy” due to an “exceptionally high number” of travellers and P&O Ferries still not running all of its ferry sailings.

The Dover Kent Resilience Forum said around 750 lorries were queuing on Saturday morning – though tourists are being prioritised.

Dozens of travellers have also been queueing at London’s St Pancras station as they hope to get to France.

Simon Calder, the Independent’s travel editor, said he had never seen such a long queue at the station but confirmed there was no major disruption.

Families heading to Disneyland Paris and football fans going to Paris for the Champions League final were among those queueing at the station, he said.

On Thursday, a software failure forced EasyJet to cancel about 200 flights.

The issue affected airports across the UK. EasyJet said the latest cancellations were unrelated to the IT issue, which is now resolved.

It said a range of issues were impacting its operations and contributing to the cancellations, including air traffic control restrictions, runway works and airport handling delays.

In a statement the airline said: “We are very sorry for the late notice of some of these cancellations and inconvenience caused for customers booked on these flights however we believe this is necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period.

“Customers are being informed from today and provided with the option to rebook their flight or receive a refund and can apply for compensation in line with regulations.”

The airline will still be operating around 1,700 flights per day over the next week.

Holiday company Tui cancelled six flights from Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick on Saturday morning while other flights were delayed.

Delays were due to “a combination of factors” and refreshments and hotel accommodation were going to be provided, the company said.

It also added that those whose flight was cancelled would be contacted directly and would receive a full refund within 14 days.

A woman has described how her family missed her father’s funeral because their flight was cancelled by EasyJet minutes before departure.

Tracey was booked to fly from Geneva to Bristol with her two sons to attend her father David Dane’s funeral.

Their flight was one of about 200 the airline cancelled at short notice on 26 May.

“My problem isn’t that the flight was cancelled,” she said. “It was the fact that there was no one to deal with the situation, this meant I had to watch my dad’s funeral from a hotel room.”

Around 8,000 flights are expected to depart from UK airports over the weekend.

Meanwhile, motoring organisation the RAC warned of congestion on the roads and said drivers were planning an estimated 17.8 million leisure trips between Friday and Sunday. Saturday is expected to be the busiest day.

Earlier, Liverpool fans travelling to Paris for the Champions League final in Paris complained of “chaos” as they were stuck in hours-long queues at Dover.

There were also long waits at airports including Manchester, Stansted and Bristol.

Passengers have faced delays and cancellations at airports in recent months following the easing of Covid restrictions on international travel.

The travel industry cut thousands of jobs during the pandemic, but as demand for flights has returned, it has struggled to recruit staff, carry out security checks and train new workers quickly.(BBC)