EasyJet cancellations continue as around 30 flights to be grounded every day

Exclusive: Budget airline blames ‘challenging operating environment’ for grounding Tuesday flights from Gatwick to Malaga and Valencia

<p>Going places?: an easyJet aircraft at London Gatwick airport</p>

Going places?: an easyJet aircraft at London Gatwick airport

With tens of thousands of travellers still stranded after a weekend of flight disruption, easyJet has revealed it will continue to cancel dozens of flights – most of them to and from its main base, London Gatwick.

A spokesperson told The Independent: “Given the ongoing challenging operating environment that airlines and airports are seeing, we do expect to see a daily impact with advance cancellations similar to the levels in recent days – likely around 30 or so.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and take action in advance where possible.”

Passengers are likely to be notified three days before their flights if it is selected for pre-emptive cancellation. The airline is telling passengers: “For the latest updates to your flight, please monitor the flight tracker within three days of your flight.”

The Independent has already identified easyJet cancellations made for Tuesday, including the 6.20am flight from Gatwick to Valencia and the final departure of the day from Gatwick to Malaga

Britain’s biggest budget airline has grounded at least 30 flights serving Gatwick on Monday.

While some of the cancellations were notified several days in advance, passengers to and from destinations such as Malta, Seville and Valencia were told by text only a few hours ahead that their flight would not be going ahead.

Demand for outbound flights is reduced after the main half-term holiday, but thousands of travellers are seeking to find ways home from airports across Europe – from the Canary Islands to the shores of Turkey.

The easyJet flight from Ljubljana to Gatwick due out late on Sunday night was cancelled at 90 minutes’ notice. One passenger, Azra Grover, wrote on Twitter: “Had to book the last rental car at the airport before they closed – driving to Vienna now, such a disgraceful way to handle things, easyJet! People told to ‘figure it out themselves’. You have duty of care – hundreds left stranded with no help or guidance!”

The airline spokesperson said: “EasyJet is operating over 1,700 flights today carrying almost 300,000 customers. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing challenging operating environment around 37 flights have been cancelled today ahead of customers arriving at the airport.

“We are very sorry and fully understand the disruption this will have caused for our customers. Customers are being provided with options to rebook or receive a refund as well as hotel accommodation and meals where required, along with information on how to arrange this quickly online or via the app.

“Our customer service hours and hotel accommodation sourcing have been extended to support impacted customers and help get them to their destination as soon as possible.”

Any airline that cancels a flight is obliged under European air passengers’ rights rules to provide an alternative flight as soon as possible – including on a rival airline if need be – and provide hotel accommodation as necessary. If the cause is within the airline’s control, it must also pay cash compensation of £220 or, for longer flights, £350.

While easyJet has made by far the largest number of cancellations to and from Gatwick, Wizz Air has grounded some flights from the Sussex airport including to Malaga, Larnaca and Catania.

Amid the mounting chaos at the UK’s airports, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, found time to tweet his support for the prime minister, who faces a confidence vote by Conservative MPs.

Mr Shapps wrote: “With the cost of living rising, war in Europe and an economy to recover after Covid, now is not the time for a distracting and divisive leadership contest.

“@BorisJohnson has my support – we must back him to get on with the job of delivering for the British people.”

Cancelled easyJet flights to/from Gatwick on Monday:

  • Amsterdam
  • Bilbao
  • Edinburgh
  • Geneva
  • Glasgow
  • Krakow
  • Madrid
  • Malta
  • Milan Bergamo
  • Milan Malpensa
  • Palermo
  • Seville
  • Valencia
  • Venice
  • Zurich

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