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Bad weather and staff shortages signal weekend of disruption at Gibraltar airport

People crossing the runway on Friday in severe gale force winds that also disrupted flights. Photo by Johnny Bugeja

Gibraltar airport will be closed on Saturday and Sunday until 3.30pm due to staff shortages affecting air traffic control, capping earlier disruption due to severe gale force winds.

Bad weather on Friday affected scheduled and military flights and prevented them from landing in Gibraltar, with the adverse conditions expected to last into the weekend.

But staffing issues that have for months intermittently impacted flights at the airport will add to the disruption faced by passengers travelling over the weekend.

NATS, the UK company that provides air traffic control at the airport under contract to the Ministry of Defence, had previously said it would bolster its personnel in Gibraltar but training requirements means that is a slow process yet to be completed.

“Scheduled flights and military flights were affected [on Friday] by adverse weather conditions, which are expected to continue into the weekend,” a spokesperson for the MoD in Gibraltar told the Chronicle.

“Due to NATS staff shortages, the airfield will be closed until 1530 on Saturday and Sunday affecting civilian and military flights.”

“We sincerely apologise for the disruption.”

Three scheduled flights were due to arrive in Gibraltar on Saturday before 3.30pm and another two on Sunday, weather permitting.

It was not clear on Friday night whether the services on Saturday and Sunday would operate to Malaga or be cancelled outright, as has sometimes occurred in the past.

They include easyJet services from Gatwick and Manchester and a British Airways flight from Heathrow on Saturday, and easyJet flights from Gatwick and Bristol on Sunday morning.

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