Travel interferences and flight delays after the Easter week became a common occurrence, thanks to the havoc wreaked by Storm Katie. High winds pressured many airports into cancelling several flights over the next few days.
Heathrow and Gatwick were severely affected and had to cancel and divert most airline services. Passengers were asked to check and reschedule their flights due to the stormy weather. Gatwick alone, saw over 20 flight cancellations and 16 diversions as a result of a warning indicating severe weather.Roads surrounding the airport also faced a lot of disruption according to the information posted on Gatwick’s Twitter handle. The disruptions were most likely the result of the vacation traffic making their way back home.
Heathrow saw many flights being disrupted as air traffic controllers were forced to implement safety measures and minimize the “flow rate” by increasing the distance between flights that are scheduled to arrive one after the other. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world with a two runway set-up. This means that the airport has a hard time managing disruptions, especially during peak hours.
Two British Airway flights that were scheduled for an overnight arrival from Johannesburg were forced to undergo a major diversion. One flight landed at Glasgow, while the other one ended up at Shannon, which is located at West Ireland. The total flight delay experienced by the passengers lasted five hours.Other international flights from locations such as Delhi, Singapore, and Manchester were diverted towards Manchester, while flights from Bombay and Sao Paulo were diverted towards Birmingham.Short-haul flights that were scheduled to depart from Düsseldorf and Gothenburg towards Heathrow were forced to land at Manchester and Stansted instead.
British Airways was forced to cancel over 50 flights that were scheduled to leave and arrive at Heathrow, apart from the cancellations at Gatwick. However, most of the cancellations were limited to short haul trips with the exception of one transatlantic flight to Washington D.C.
In a statement issued to The Independent, a British Airways spokeswoman mentioned that Storm Katie and the resulting weather had forced the carrier to cancel a number of its flights and also, deal with several delays.
The spokeswoman, on behalf of British Airways, issued an apology to the passengers. She also added that passengers should check the carrier’s website for the latest updates regarding flight schedules.
International carriers such as South African Airways, United Airlines, and American Airlines were also severely affected. Many of these flights were long-haul services.
An early morning Virgin Atlantic flight from Barbados underwent a six hour delay, which resulted in a few outbound passengers facing extreme delays.
EasyJet passengers at Gatwick were among the worst affected as they had to face a large number offlight delays and cancellations. It is estimated that around 30 flights from locations such as Athens, Nice, Paris, Faro, Amsterdam, and Munich were cancelled. A 6 AM flight scheduled towards Lanzarote took to the skies only at noon.
EasyJet issued a statement indicating that the carrier had worked towards limiting disruptions by making several changes to existing schedules.