‘Hole’ in runway at Stansted Airport caused flight delays

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:42 14 August 2017

Passengers queuing at Stansted Airport after travellers were hit by delays when the runway was closed for repairs. Picture: @joescaff/PA WIRE

Passengers queuing at Stansted Airport after travellers were hit by delays when the runway was closed for repairs. Picture: @joescaff/PA WIRE

Passengers were hit by with delays at Stansted Airport after the runway was closed for emergency repairs – with at least one Essex family left stranded overseas.

Passengers queuing at Stansted Airport after delays caused by closing the runway for repairs. Picture: @LisaParker83/PA WIREPassengers queuing at Stansted Airport after delays caused by closing the runway for repairs. Picture: @LisaParker83/PA WIRE

Flights were diverted from the airport, one of the busiest in the UK, after it shut down its landing strip between 5.30pm and 6.10pm yesterday, Sunday August 13.

Passengers reported being told by crew the disruption was caused by a hole in the runway.

The airport confirmed 11 flights had been sent to other hubs including Luton and East Midlands during the closure.

BBC journalist Joe Lynam wrote on Twitter: “There’s a ‘hole’ in the runway at Stansted Airport according to the pilot of my Ryanair flight from Italy which had to divert to Luton.”

Images posted on social media showed sprawling queues as hundreds waited to board their flights.

After the closure, Stansted Airport posted a statement saying flights were now running again, but “some flights may be delayed or cancelled”.

It added: “Our runway was temporarily closed between 5.30pm and 6.10pm to allow for minor repairs to be safely carried out and some arriving flights were diverted to other airports during the closure.

“This temporary measure was deemed necessary for safety reasons and we would like to advise that the runway is now open and flight operations are back to normal.”

A spokesman apologised for the inconvenience and disruption, adding that aircraft and passenger safety was paramount.

Sue Armitage from Saffron Walden was left stranded in Italy, along with her 60-year-old husband and daughter, 27, due to the incident.

They were booked onto a Ryanair flight due to depart from Treviso at 10.30pm, but after initially being delayed by one hour 15 minutes the flight was then cancelled.

Mrs Armitage and fellow passengers had to collect their bags, before Mrs Armitage was able to rebook her and her husbands flights for Tuesday evening – though her daughter, who had a separate booking, was unable to get a seat until Wednesday.

Speaking on Monday Mrs Armitage said: “We were very much left to our own devices, no member of staff suggested we re-book our flights ourselves whilst waiting in the queue.

“So we’re now here until tomorrow night – the first night is free from Ryanair but we have to pay the other nights ourselves and then hopefully reclaim the extra cost ourselves.

“We feel really let down and we’ll be home 48 hours late. The main problem is the complete lack of information at a really difficult time. There was no announcement about what the problem was.

“Some people were being sent all over Italy and had to make their own arrangements to get to other cities.”

In a statement Ryanair said: “Due to the temporary closure of the runway at Stansted Airport Ryanair was regrettably forced to cancel/divert a number of flights.

“Affected customers were provided with overnight hotel accommodation and/or refreshment vouchers, in full compliance with legislation, and advised of their options by email and text: a full refund, a free transfer to the next available flight or a free transfer on to an alternative route.

“In this instance, these customers were asked to provide receipted expenses, and are due to fly to London Stansted tomorrow.

“Ryanair sincerely apologised to all customers affected by this runway closure, which was entirely beyond our control.”

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