Flights at Gatwick Airport have been cancelled, delayed or diverted due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.

Dozens of arrivals and departures were affected on Thursday evening – Gatwick confirmed 22 cancellations as of 22:00 BST.

According to the website FlightRadar24, hundreds of flights have been delayed in and out of the airport.

Gatwick apologised for “any inconvenience caused” and urged passengers to contact their airline.

National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said it was “working hard to keep the operation moving”.

According to FlightRadar24 data, 376 flights into Gatwick on Thursday have been delayed; while 252 planes have been delayed from leaving the airport.

EasyJet expressed frustration at the delays and cancellations adding staff “are doing all they can” to minimise disruption.

The airline added: “Nats air traffic control staffing shortages at Gatwick today have led to a significantly reduced flow rate being imposed on airlines, meaning some flights are being disrupted.

“We are very disappointed that customers are once again impacted by this – and while this is outside of our control, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers.”

Last month, a technical issue at Nats led to 2,000 flights being cancelled across the UK.

Earlier, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary called on its boss to resign.

Mr O’Leary said: “It is unacceptable that more flights and hundreds of passengers are suffering delays to/from Gatwick Airport due to Nats CEO, Martin Rolfe’s blatant failure to adequately staff UK ATC.

“Airlines are paying millions of pounds to Nats each and every year and should not have to see their passengers suffer avoidable delays due to UK ATC staff shortages.”

Michael O’Leary has called on the chief executive of Nats to resign over the latest disruption

In a statement, Nats said: “We are working closely with the airport to ensure we can handle flights with as little disruption as possible and we apologise very sincerely to people who have been inconvenienced.

“London Gatwick’s senior management understands we are working hard to keep the operation moving. Airlines operating at London Gatwick were aware of the situation when Nats was appointed, but that does not dilute the apology we offer sincerely to them and their passengers who have been inconvenienced by recent disruption.”

Paul Treloar posted on social media: “It’s now four hours later and our flight from Samos has been diverted to Bournemouth. Can you give us any idea if/when we’re likely to be able to land at Gatwick this evening?”

‘Will miss train’

Mike Reed wrote: “In Bari sat on hot plane for ‘up to an hour’.”

Another wrote: “Currently on the runway at Athens, delayed due to air traffic control restrictions at your airport. I will miss my train connection.”

In a statement Gatwick Airport insisted the “situation is improving” with extra staff in place.

“The air traffic control restrictions are reducing as a consequence and more aircraft are able to arrive and depart,” a spokesperson said.

“Nats are a world-class provider of air traffic services and London Gatwick’s senior management recognises how hard the airport’s air traffic controllers are working to keep the operation moving.

“We are working closely with Nats to build resilience in the airport’s control tower to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.”

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