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Flight delays down to ‘unexpected staff shortage’, MOD says

Pic: Brian Reyes

An unexpected staff shortage delayed the opening of the runway on Sunday, with two planes circling for 40 minutes east of the Rock while the issue was resolved.

The incident was reported in the Spanish press after it was flagged in a tweet by an association of Spanish air controllers, whose members in Seville controlled the two planes as they circled waiting.

"Due to an unexpected staff shortage on the morning of 24 April, NATS delayed the opening of RAF Gibraltar until the reserve air traffic assistant was in work and the unit was able to provide a safe service,” a spokesperson for the MOD told the Chronicle.

The incident was raised on Tuesday too by GSD MP Damon Bossino, who urged the Gibraltar Government to clarify the reports in the Spanish media.

Mr Bossino sought reassurances that the Government was taking the matter up with the appropriate authorities – the MOD is responsible for the operation of the airfield – to avoid any repeat of what he described as “an extraordinary incident”.

“We can ill afford one of Gibraltar’s main entry points to be hampered in this way,” Mr Bossino said.

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