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9th October 2019, 20:42

Third instance of flight disruption due to Air Traffic Control staffing shortages and labour dispute

Two inbound flights on Thursday evening were unable to land due to Air Traffic Control issues in Gibraltar. The BA flight was diverted toMalagaand the Royal AirMaroc

It's now the third time within a month that there's been disruption to flights due to staffing issues at Air Traffic control.

The company contracted to run the Air Traffic Control tower, NATS, says controllers at Gibraltar are currently engaging in industrial action.

This means that they are not undertaking any voluntary work - such as overtime - in the event of short notice staff sickness.

Wednesday evening's Easyjet flight from Gatwick to Gibraltar was also diverted to Malaga.

The Government has called on the air traffic control company and the Ministry of Defence to resolve their labour relations issue as soon as possible.

GBC asked NATS if further disruption is expected in coming days. The company said it is taking this very seriously and has already taken some immediate steps to improve resilience. NATS says it hopes to find a solution to this dispute and is open to further discussions with its union.

The Gibraltar Government has expressed its extreme displeasure at MOD and NATS for failing to provide the service which Gibraltar’s taxpayers continue to pay for.

The Chief Minister said the situation is causing huge damage to Gibraltar's reputation. Fabian Picardo said MoD and NATS have to resolve this issue as Gibraltar cannot afford this nonsense at this time. He said everyone involved needs to keep the airport open as required for commercial operations.