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Two planes diverted due to staff shortages at air traffic control

Archive image of a BA plane in Gibraltar. Johnny Bugeja

The British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Gibraltar operated out of Malaga on Thursday afternoon due to staff shortage at air traffic control.

“NATS was unable to provide an air traffic control service at Gibraltar Airport after 3pm local time,” an MOD spokesperson told the Chronicle, adding this was due to staff sickness.

The affected inbound flight, BA490 from London Heathrow, was diverted to Malaga and the outbound flight, BA491 to Heathrow, left from Malaga.

A press officer for British Airways said: “The flight was diverted due to air traffic control restrictions.”

Issues of staff shortages have caused numerous flight diversions and airport closures this year.

To address the issues NATS, the company that operates air traffic control under contract to the Ministry of Defence, pledged it would hire more staff, with a recruitment and training process started earlier this year.

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