Passengers stranded at Gatwick Airport as flooding causes power outages
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Tuesday 24 December 2013
Thousands of people remain stranded at Gatwick airport after a power outage caused by flooding has closed the airport's north terminal.
A statement from Gatwick airport read: "Gatwick has 250 departing flights in total today.
"Out of 133 departing flights from North Terminal, 15 have been cancelled while 58 have departed. South Terminal is operating as normal.
"The cause of the power outages – flooding from the River Mole into airfield substations and North Terminal – is related to the heavy rain overnight and fixes for the issues are being progressed as quickly as possible.
"Gatwick would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to some passengers today and we are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum."
The main airline at Gatwick, easyJet, had cancelled a total of 54 flights by 2pm. It was offering any passengers due to depart from Gatwick the chance to re-book to another date free of charge.
The airline has reserved 450 rooms in hotels around the airport, and will secure more if needed. Six flights will now depart tomorrow.
British Airways has cancelled 22 flights in and out of Gatwick, to destinations including Rome, Venice and Naples. Three round-trips to Edinburgh have also been cancelled.
From 1pm today, all the airport's departing flights will now be leaving from the south terminal.
A BA spokesman said: "We are experiencing long flight delays at Gatwick. Gatwick Airport is investigating the fault and trying to restore power as soon as possible. We are sorry for the delays and our customer service teams are doing all they can to help customers. We strongly urge customers to check their flight details on ba.com before leaving for the airport."
Ryanair uses the South Terminal, but decided to delay its services by an hour to Cork, Shannon and Dublin by an hour "To ensure all those affected by rail delays at Gatwick get home".
The airport's IT systems were also affected. One passenger, "Nievey C", tweeted: "Jesus Christ @Gatwick_Airport if your computers aren't working & there's no source of visible info, at least make your announcements audible." Luggage being piled up at the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport as a power outage added to the travel misery felt across the country
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