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EasyJet flights ‘delayed by over four hours by air-traffic control’

Simon Calder’s Travel

A pair of easyJet flights between Manchester and the Greek island of Rhodes are being delayed by over four hours due to “air-traffic control restrictions” on Thursday.

But a Ryanair plane flying the same there-and-back journey 25 minutes later was given permission to depart – and landed on the Greek island on time.

EasyJet flight 2051 was due to depart from Manchester at 6.15am, arriving in good time for lunch at 12.40pm.

But passengers have been told their plane will now leave four hours and 15 minutes late, with an expected touchdown just before 6pm.

More than 300 passengers are affected. The airline is required to provide refreshments while they wait.

EasyJet is telling travellers: “We’re sorry that your flight has been delayed. This is because of air traffic control restrictions.

“The disruption to your flight is outside of our control and is considered to be an extraordinary circumstance.”

The corresponding inbound flight is running even later: easyJet says flight 2052 is expected to depart from Rhodes five hours behind schedule, arriving in Manchester after 9pm rather than at the expected 4pm.

But passengers on the Greek island are being told they should still “arrive at the airport for your original departure time”.

Once again, easyJet stresses: “The disruption to your flight is outside of our control and is considered to be an extraordinary circumstance.”

The airline can avoid paying £350 in delay compensation if a long delay is beyond its control.

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “We can confirm that flight EZY 2051 from Manchester to Rhodes was delayed departing this morning due to an air traffic control delay.

“Given the length of the slot delay from Eurocontrol, we had to swap the crew as the original crew would have exceeded their legal operating hours and so that has unfortunately lengthened the delay. Whilst this was outside of our control we are sorry for any inconvenience.”

The Independent has asked the pan-European coordinator Eurocontrol for comment.

In its latest overview, Eurocontrol reports an average delay to flights due to air-traffic control issues last week of four minutes.

Half of all attributable delays were caused by bad weather, with most of the remaining down to staff shortage.

Six days ago, dozens of flights on easyJet and other airlines were cancelled and some diverted due to staff…

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