Manchester Airport forced to close twice due to ATC staff shortages

By Harry Kemble
03/05/2023
Home » Manchester Airport forced to close twice due to ATC staff shortages

Manchester Airport was forced to cancel flights and divert others after a sickness outbreak among air traffic control staff.

Six outbound flights were pulled and five inbound flights were diverted when the airfield at Manchester Airport was briefly closed twice, once late on Friday and again in the early hours of Saturday.

The five diverted flights went to Gatwick, Liverpool, Birmingham and East Midlands.

Manchester Airport said one inbound flight was also delayed.

National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which provides air traffic services at many UK airports including Manchester, confirmed some staff were sick last week which meant that it had to ‘limit the flow of aircraft in and out of the airport’.

The runways were closed between 23:30 and 00:15 and 02:00 and 03:30.

On Travel Gossip’s Facebook page, one agent said her customers had been on an easyJet flight diverted to Gatwick on the same evening as the sickness outbreak. Some 300 passengers were transported from Gatwick to a hotel for the night, she added.

A NATS spokesperson said: “We had a very short notice staff sickness on Friday 28 April which meant we did not have the required number of air traffic controllers and had to limit the flow of aircraft in and out of the airport.

“We worked closely with Manchester Airport and with our airline customers to minimise the disruption as far as possible. We are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience this caused.”

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