Storm Ciara: British Airways blasted by Portsmouth chief executive left stranded in Portugal
THE chief executive of a large property trust in Portsmouth has slammed British Airways over its handling of flights cancelled by Storm Ciara.
Peter Goodship, the chief executive of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, was among more than 140 travellers expecting to fly from Faro, in Portugal, to Gatwick at 11am on Sunday.
But Storm Ciara has led to hundreds of flights to and from the UK being cancelled, including Peter’s – but the passengers waiting at the airport were not notified for more than five hours after their departure time.
The 70-year-old, who was due to return from a nine day trip visiting his daughter in Aljezur, said: ‘I have got a BA app and when I checked it at 7am it was saying that flight was delayed an hour.
‘So it was going to take off at 12pm. So I rocked up at the airport at 9:30am.
‘Our bags were loaded on to the aircraft, but there was a rumour the plane might not be flying.
‘Then the board said it would leave at 19:00, and everyone was wondering what was going on.’
An information board directed frustrated passengers to another gate for more information from a BA staff member – but there was no one there.
Peter added: ‘There is a phone number you can call for information, but there’s no reply when you ring it.
‘We’ve been left in limbo.
‘But Easy Jet customers who were flying at about the same time were taken to hotels hours ago.
At 4pm local time, a BA representative at the airport told passengers their flight would leave Monday morning and hotel accommodation was being arranged.
Peter said: ‘All I would expect is to be told what’s happening as soon as possible, so we could have all made our own arrangements.’
A spokesman from British Airways said the company was ‘carefully assessing’ every flight.
He said: ‘Like all airlines operating in and out of the UK today, we are being significantly disrupted by Storm Ciara. Safety is at the heart of everything we do, and our highly trained team is carefully assessing every flight.
‘We’re sorry for the overnight delay to this flight and our in contact with our customers to provide overnight accommodation.’
Air Traffic Control restrictions at Gatwick limited the number of aircraft that can land at the airport, with more than 300 arrivals and departures grounded.
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