Travel News

Travel chaos at Gatwick as British Airways plane blocks runway

Simon Calder’s Travel

At least a dozen flights have been diverted and many more are likely to be heavily delayed or cancelled at London Gatwick airport, after a British Airways flight to Vancouver abandoned its departure in the middle of the runway.

No one is believed to have been hurt when BA2279 aborted take-off at high speed, leading to overheated brakes and burst tyres. The aircraft is a Boeing 777.

A British Airways spokesperson said: “Our pilots took the precautionary decision to cancel take-off due to a technical issue. Safety is always our top priority and we apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused.”

But all arrivals and departures at the world’s busiest single-runway came to a halt. The first flight to divert was an incoming British Airways flight from Verona, which went to Stansted.

Also diverted to the Essex airport are easyJet flights from Palermo and Vueling from Barcelona.

Many easyJet flights intending to touch down at Gatwick have instead landed at Luton, and single BA arrival from Malaga is currently at Heathrow.

An Emirates A380 “SuperJumbo” from Dubai went to Brussels, while the Norwegian flight from Stockholm is currently in Bournemouth.

Operations have now resumed at Gatwick but disruption will continue for the rest of the day with planes, pilots and passengers out of position.

A Gatwick spokesperson said: “The main runway was closed for a short time today (26 June) due to a departing aircraft having hot brakes.

“Safety is our top priority and the dedicated airport fire service swiftly attended to support the aircraft.

“A number of flights were diverted. The runway is now open and operating as normal.”

Gatwick has a standby runway but it could not be pressed into service because fire crews were attending the BA plane.

The incident happened on the busiest day of the year for air traffic in Europe.

Thousands of passengers are enduring long delays due to poor weather in various parts of Continental Europe.

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