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Consultation on airport option comes to a close

A plane arrives at Heathrow Airport Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Airports Commission consultation closes today on increasing the UK's long-term air travel capacity.

The commission has been asking people for their views on the three short-listed options for a new runway in the south east of England - a second runway a Gatwick, a third runway at Heathrow, and an extension to the existing northern runway at Heathrow to operate as two separate runways.

Chaired by Howard Davies, the commission is expected to make its final recommendations following the General Election. It has already rejected the idea of an inner Thames Estuary hub airport backed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.


  1. Meridian

Passenger describes moment plane makes emergency landing

A passenger has described the moment an easyJet plane carrying 157 passengers had to make an emergency landing - after smoke was detected in the cockpit.

The plane was delayed after smells of smoke in the cabin Credit: Emily Scott

We were due to leave Liverpool at 6:40am to Naples. The flight left with no problems and all was well. Then came the an acrid smell of burning. At first it seemed like nothing to worry about but as the smell grew as did the concern of some of the passengers. The captain then announced that they were apologetic for the smell of smoke and that the plane was to make an emergency landing as a precaution. The oxygen was issued in the cockpit as that's where the smoke was coming from. The crew remained extremely calm and professional. Some of the passengers started to notice that there was a mist coming from the air condition which the captain reassured us was completely normal. The flight landed safely on the ground and we were greeted by the firemen who came aboard (to our delight). Currently there is another EasyJet flight awaiting for us to board and we have been offered a free drink and small snack as a form of apology. The flight landed into Gatwick just 40 minutes after taking off at Liverpool. I commend the crew and captain for handling the situation in such a calm manner. One passenger has decided she would not like to continue with the next flight.

– Emily Imogen Scott, passenger on flight

Gatwick workers arrested over duty-free theft

Two workers at Gatwick Airport have been arrested by police investigating the alleged theft of duty-free goods. The pair were seen acting suspiciously and stopped just after 6am today by officers running an operation into thefts at the West Sussex airport.

Passengers at Gatwick airport Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Police examined bags they were carrying and discovered sealed bottles of perfume and other duty-free items. A property in Crawley was also being searched as part of the inquiry. The pair - a 22-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman, both from Crawley - were arrested on suspicion of theft. A police spokesman said both worked for a contractor based at the airport, and not for the site's owner, Gatwick Airport Ltd.

"These arrests are part of a long-running investigation into the theft of duty-free goods from the airport. There is no suggestion that passengers have been targeted and today's arrests are not linked to previous operations aimed at catching airport workers who might be committing thefts there. We are working with Gatwick Airport Ltd and airline operators to tackle the issue of theft and to catch those responsible."

– Detective Inspector Andy Richardson
  1. National

Gatwick Airport 'not anticipating baggage problems'

Gatwick Airport has said it is not anticipating any baggage issues this weekend.

The airport said it had "robust contingency plans" in place, with 60 extra staff on standby to support baggage handlers Swissport.


  1. National

Thomas Cook 'working to prevent baggage delays'

Airline Thomas Cook has said it is working to ensure its customers do not experience baggage delays at Gatwick Airport.

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook told ITV News that the company was disappointed that recent baggage issues - which led to delays of up to four hours last weekend - had affected "too many passengers".

Gatwick is drafting in its own staff to help with baggage handling following issues with baggage handling firm Swissport.

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:

  1. National

Swissport deny zero-hours contracts caused problems

Baggage handling company Swissport has denied claims zero-hours contracts were to blame for the disruption at Gatwick Airport last weekend.

Staff shortages at the company forced hundreds of passengers to go home without their luggage and left others waiting for up to five hours to reclaim their bags at the airport on July 27.

The scene at Gatwick Airport last weekend. Credit: @sophiewood64

The firm told ITV News' Chris Choi the "suggestion that issues may have been caused by zero hour contracts is untrue".

Despite warnings that passengers could face yet more problems this weekend, Swissport said all services this morning were meeting targets.

"Baggage services to client airlines to 7am this morning was good and within its targets. There were no appreciable delays," the company said.

  1. National

Walsh 'to look at other options' if Gatwick issues remain

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways parent company IAG, has told ITV News he is prepared to look at other options if baggage handlers Swissport fail to resolve their issues at Gatwick Airport.

Gatwick said Swissport had "failed to meet standards" after hundreds of passengers faced long delays to reclaim their baggage last weekend.

"I think they (Swissport) have some issues at Gatwick that they need to address, and if they don't address them to our satisfaction then we have options," he told ITV News' Chris Choi.

"At this stage we are working with them. We are satisfied they are putting the right measures in place and I'm confident they will resolve them

"If they don't we will certainly look at other opportunities."

  1. National

Gatwick to use own staff to help with baggage handling

Gatwick Airport is to use its own staff to help with baggage handling in a bid to prevent another weekend of disruption.

Gatwick Airport has drafted in extra staff to cope with the backlog. Credit: PA

Staff shortages at baggage handlers Swissport caused chaotic scenes at the west Sussex airport last weekend, as passengers faced long delays to reclaim their bags.

Gatwick criticised the the company for "failing to meet standards".

Swissport has drafted in 40 extra staff following last week's problems amid criticism for reportedly using staff on zero-hours contracts.

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