Second airport in six weeks forced to suspend operations due to staff sickness

Glasgow Airport workers vote for strike action
By Harry Kemble
16/06/2023
Home » Second airport in six weeks forced to suspend operations due to staff sickness

Two flights had to be diverted from Glasgow Airport due to short notice staff sickness in its air traffic control team on Thursday.

National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which provides air traffic services at many UK airports, confirmed it restricted aircraft flying in and out of the airport for 30 minutes to ensure operations ‘remained safe and manageable’.

Glasgow Airport told Travel Gossip two flights were diverted to Prestwick between 10:00 and 10:30 and several other flights were also delayed.

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

NATS issued a statement following yesterday’s suspension at Glasgow, saying: “Due to short notice staff sickness affecting our air traffic control team at Glasgow Airport this morning, we restricted aircraft in and out of the airport for 30 minutes to ensure the operation remained safe and manageable. 

“We are now providing a full service and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.”

“There is no connection between this and the short notice staff sickness at Manchester that occurred. All airport towers are discrete units with their own workforce.”

A NATS spokesperson further explained: “We have built-in resilience and full contingency plans in place at all of our airports,  but sometimes circumstances are beyond our control. Instances like this are rare but they can happen. And when they do, we work with the airlines to understand their schedules and plan to minimise the disruption caused. 

“Controllers are validated only to operate on specified sectors of airspace or at a specific aerodrome, much like a pilot is only qualified to fly a particular type of aircraft and has to retrain to fly a different type. This means, for example, that if a controller falls sick we have to replace them with someone with the correct validation for that piece of airspace or aerodrome. We make every effort to do this, but it’s not always possible.

“Controllers working patterns and rest breaks are also strictly regulated, which complicates efforts to mitigate against short-notice staff sickness.”

Share this article

Latest News

Loading