London's Gatwick caps summer flight numbers over staff shortages

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London's Gatwick airport said on Friday it will limit the number of flights during the summer travel season in light of continuing labour shortages, a move that will force airlines to cancel some flights.

Britain's second-largest airport will cap flights at 825 per day in July and 850 in August in order to avoid chaos and combat same-day cancellations by airlines, a decision it said comes after a rapid upturn in air traffic levels.

Gatwick usually operates about 900 flights on peak days in August.

Airports around Europe have suffered from labour and logistics issues as passenger travel surged following the end of COVID-19 lockdowns, with British airports, in particular, facing chaos as a school half-term holiday coincided with the Platinum Jubilee holiday weekend.

Airlines including Lufthansa and Easyjet have already announced plans to reduce flights this summer.

"It is clear that during the Jubilee week a number of companies operating at the airport struggled in particular, because of staff shortages," Stewart Wingate, Gatwick's chief executive, said in a statement.

Wingate said the decision will allow the airlines and passengers to plan in advance and avoid last-minute cancellations.

Earlier this month, Britain's transport secretary, Grant Shapps, told airlines to stop selling tickets for flights they cannot staff after a spate of cancellations. 

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