Heathrow flights delayed by strong winds and ‘staff shortages’

A Qatar Airways flight comes in to land at Heathrow airport in west London as the UK government's planned 14-day quarantine for international arrivals to limit the spread of Covid-19
In a statement, Heathrow Airport said strong winds had caused ‘minor changes’ to flight schedules - AFP

Passengers are facing delays at Heathrow Airport after strong winds and staff shortages led to air traffic control restrictions.

It comes following reports from angry passengers on social media on Sunday who said their flights had been delayed or cancelled.

In a statement, Heathrow Airport said strong winds had caused “minor changes” to flight schedules.

“Strong wind is forecast today, while there may be minor changes to today’s schedule as a result of the weather, we want to reassure passengers that our colleagues are working in close collaboration with our airline and air traffic control partners to get them safely on their journeys as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for the airport said.

The spokesman said passengers should check with their airline for the latest information.

However, the National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said that staff shortages were also a factor.

“We are working hard to minimise disruption".
“We are working hard to minimise disruption". - AP

“Due to short notice staff absence in the tower and strong winds at Heathrow, temporary ATC restrictions are currently in place,” Nats said in a statement.

“We expect the situation to improve this afternoon.

“We are working hard to minimise disruption, working closely with Heathrow airport and airlines.

“Passengers should check the status of their flight with their airline.

“Restrictions of this sort are only ever applied to ensure safety and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

British Airways said that it had been forced to make some adjustments to its short-haul schedule as a result of the restrictions.

“Air traffic control restrictions imposed on all airlines at London Heathrow mean we’ve had to make some adjustments to our short-haul schedule,” a spokesperson said.

“We’ve contacted affected customers to apologise and offer them rebooking options or a full refund.”

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