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Gatwick baggage delays 'clearly a management failing'

The delays caused by baggage handling firm Swissport at Gatwick Airport are "clearly a management failure", according to the Shadow Transport Secretary.

Mary Creagh told Good Morning Britain there had been "a failure to plan adequately for the summer peak" and called for "strong action" by airports, airlines and Swissport/

Gatwick: Swissport has 'failed to meet standards'

The baggage handling firm behind four hour delays for Gatwick's arrivals passengers have "failed to meet standards", officials from the airport have said.

The spokesman for the airport said they were working "closely" with Swissport and was bringing in additional staff.

We have established service standards for our own staff, as well as for ground handling agents, who supply services to airlines such as unloading baggage from aircraft and delivering them to the baggage hall.

Recently, Swissport has failed to meet these standards. Although bags are being delivered on time for 95% of flights, this is not good enough.

This has been frustrating for passengers and we are disappointed with the recent arrival baggage service.

Swissport has committed to getting this right, and we are working closely with them to help.

Gatwick is providing additional staff. Although we are not permitted to unload the aircraft, we are assisting with transport of bags to the terminal and the unloading of bags onto belts.

We've also introduced a free baggage home delivery service for those who prefer not to wait.

– Spokesman for Gatwick Airport


Background to the Gatwick baggage problems

  • Carriers using Swissport at Gatwick (and all major UK airports) include British Airways, Virgin, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.
  • Swissport isIt is supposed to deliver bags from each flight within 55 minutes. owned by a French private equity firm, and serves 27 airlines at Gatwick (there are two other baggage handling firms a the airport).
  • It is supposed to deliver bags from each flight within 55 minutes.
  • It's reported that Monarch Airlines is ditching Swissport and Virgin is in discussions to ensure an improved performance.
  • The company claims last weekend's problems were caused by a level of off schedule activity - or planes arriving or taking off earlier or later than planned.

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.

Travellers post photos of Gatwick airport queues

Travellers have expressed their frustration at huge queues at Gatwick Airport by posting snaps of the lines on Twitter.

Gatwick chaos during floods 'a wake-up call'

The Christmas Eve chaos at Gatwick Airport should be "a wake-up call for airports across the UK" in tackling disruption, a report by MPs has said.

More than 11,000 travellers were affected by delays and cancellations on December 24 after flooding caused a power failure at the West Sussex airport.

Report finds that Gatwick Airport chaos during flooding in December 2013 should be a 'wake-up call' Credit: PA

In a report today, the House of Commons Transport Committee said that passengers had told of poor and often inconsistent provision of information about what was happening, lack of clarity about who was in charge, a lack of basic facilities and confusion about what expenses could be reimbursed.

The committee's report said: "The problems at Gatwick at Christmas Eve should be a wake-up call for airports across the UK to get on top of operational resilience issues.

"Disruption of whatever nature should be met with well-drilled plans, familiar to airport operators, airlines, and other contractors, which put passenger interests first."


Man bailed after arrest over terror training claims

A 21-year-old man who was arrested at Gatwick Airport today on suspicion of training for terrorism overseas has been bailed.

London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement:

The 21-year-old man was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) after disembarking a flight from Istanbul, Turkey at around 14:00hrs on suspicion of an offence contrary to Section 6 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

He was taken into custody at a north London police station where he has since been bailed to return to tomorrow, 7 March.

Gatwick puts on additional staff to minimise 'disruption'

Gatwick Airport says it has "additional teams of engineers, electrical staff and volunteers at the airport to minimise the risk of disruption from potential further flooding" ahead of the high winds forecast over the next 24 hours.

The airport advises passengers to check with their airlines before travelling and leave extra time to reach the airport.

"Replacement bus services and diversions could add up to two hours to journey times, so we're advising passengers to plan their route carefully, check before they travel and allow extra time to get to the airport," the airport said.

Read: Gatwick Airport chiefs 'may face probe' over Christmas chaos

Airports Commission prefers Heathrow and Gatwick runway plans

The government-appointed Commission into airport expansion has revealed its shortlist of preferred options. It lists a third runway at Heathrow and a second at Gatwick in Sussex.

The Commission, chaired by former FSA chief Sir Howard Davies stopped short of listing Stansted for possible expansion.

The Commission's preliminary report said only one extra runway would be needed in the south east before 2030 with an additional runway likely to be needed by 2050.

Plans for a hub in the Thames Estuary - dubbed "Boris Island" were not shortlisted because of "too many uncertainties and challenges".

It said it would undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and "will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other shortlisted options".

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