On the busiest Saturday of the year for outbound holidaymakers, dozens more flights have been cancelled to and from Britain’s two top airports.
British Airways has grounded at least 40 arrivals and departures, almost all of them at Heathrow – where it cancelled more than 100 flights on Friday.
At Gatwick, easyJet has so far grounded at least 10 arrivals and departures, adding to the backlog after dozens were cancelled on Friday.
The effects of hot and stormy weather were exacerbated by a failure of radar systems at the Swanwick air-traffic control centre in Hampshire – leading to yet more cancellations and delays at Heathrow and Gatwick.
BA’s cancellations include four departures to Barcelona, a round-trip to Venice and a transatlantic flight to New York.
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “Following the weather issues of yesterday, we are operating the vast majority of our flights today. Our long-haul operation is unaffected by the weather, but there are some knock-on effects for a small number of our short-haul flights, for which we apologise.
“We are offering any customers who have been affected options to re-book or to claim a full refund.
“Like other airlines, we are affected by the industrial action planned to take place at Barcelona airport this weekend.”
At Heathrow, Aer Lingus has cancelled a round-trip from Dublin, and Lufthansa has axed an arrival from, and departure to, Frankfurt.
At Gatwick, easyJet’s cancellations include holiday flights to Bordeaux in southwest France and Faro, the airport for Portugal’s Algarve coast.
A spokesperson for easyJet said: “Due to adverse weather conditions and air traffic restrictions yesterday (26 July), easyJet, like other airlines, experienced disruption to its flying programme which has resulted in some further cancellations of flights to and from London Gatwick this morning.
“We are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of the disruption for our customers and to arrange alternative travel. Customers on cancelled flights have been given the option of transferring their flight free of charge or receiving a refund.
“We are also providing hotel rooms and meals for customers who require them and any customers who arrange their own will be reimbursed for reasonable expenses.
“Whilst this is outside of our control, we would like to apologise for any inconvenience experienced as a result of the weather.”
The airline also cancelled Friday night’s flight from Gatwick to Inverness at late notice, telling passengers: “This is due to an internal systems failure which caused your flight to miss the curfew in Inverness.”
The stranded travellers were told to fend for themselves: “Due to extremely high demand at the moment in London Gatwick, we’ve been unable to find hotel accommodation for you this evening.”
But anyone finding a hotel room was warned: “We ask that you look for accommodation which is about three stars or equivalent and retain all your receipts in order to make your claim.
“If you choose to book anything that we deem as unreasonable then we will be unable to reimburse you.” Under European air passengers’ rights rules, the cancelling airline is obliged to provide accommodation, whatever the cost.
On the railways, passengers on the East Midlands line from London St Pancras to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield have been urged not to travel until Monday, as repairs are made to overhead line equipment.
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