UK travel: More than 200 flights cancelled across London’s airports

British Airways and easyJet passengers hardest hit by cancellations


Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Friday 26 July 2019 21:10
UK heatwave: Thousands of passengers disrupted as flights and trains cancelled due to extreme temperatures

More than 200 flights to and from airports in the London area have been cancelled on one of the busiest days of the year.

British Airways’ passengers are worst hit, with more than 120 cancellations. Most were domestic and short-haul European flights, with travellers to Berlin enduring five cancelled round trips and Edinburgh passengers suffering four – plus another from Gatwick.

Six BA round trips to Munich and Rome were grounded.

Key holiday destinations were among the cancellations, including flights to Athens, Ibiza and Malaga.

Two BA transatlantic flights to Boston and San Francisco were also grounded.

In total more than 20,000 BA passengers had their flights cancelled. They are entitled to be rebooked on the next available flight on British Airways or one of its partner or rival airlines. But this weekend there is very little slack in the system.

Also at Heathrow, KLM grounded two return trips from Amsterdam. Aer Lingus, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines all cancelled flights from their hubs.

At Gatwick, easyJet cancelled at least 40 flights. Links to Amsterdam were hardest hit, with three round trips grounded.

Flybe passengers suffered at least 10 flight cancellations, including links between Birmingham and Glasgow and between Southampton and Manchester.

Two problems were mainly responsible: extreme weather in the UK and across Europe, and a systems failure at Nats, the air traffic-control provider. Its radar displays for Heathrow and Gatwick failed for several hours.

By 3pm Nats said: “We have now fixed the issue sufficiently to safely increase traffic flow rates.”

But by that stage some extremely long delays had built up.

The record was set by a departing British Airways flight from Heathrow to San Francisco, which left 26 hours late.

A BA arrival at Gatwick from Malta was 22 hours behind schedule.

Other British Airways flights to Gatwick from Dalaman, Verona and Naples were at least 18 hours late.

Scott Lewis reported from Turkey: “I am current stuck in Dalaman waiting for BA2563 to leave.

“Due into Gatwick at 11.45pm yesterday and it looks likely to be 7pm this evening, a 19-hour delay.”

From Luton, easyJet cancelled round trips to Geneva, Malaga, Naples and Nice.

At lunchtime on Friday, the Eurostar service between London St Pancras International and Paris became the latest casualty in the transport carnage over the busiest weekend of the year.

A problem with the power supply at Paris Gare du Nord severely disrupted services.

The train operator cancelled two trains each way to and from the French capital. All but a handful of passengers were rebooked on alternative trains.

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Links to and from Brussels also encountered problems due to speed restrictions in Belgium because of the extreme temperature.

Eurostar said: “Passengers travelling on that route today can postpone their journeys for free or ask for a refund.”

No additional problems are expected on Eurostar for the weekend. But East Midland Trains from St Pancras will be disrupted on both Saturday and Sunday after damage to the overhead wires close to the station.

Two of the four tracks are out of use. An emergency timetable is planned for links to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Passengers are urged not to travel on the line before Monday. The train operator said holders of tickets valid from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 July were able to to use the ticket next week, or travel on an alternative route – such as LNER via Doncaster or Virgin trains via Manchester.

Network Rail staff will be working through the weekend so that a normal service can resume from Monday 29 July.

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