Flights delayed after lightning strike at Stansted Airport
27 May 2018, 09:05
Scores of flights have been delayed at Stansted Airport after lightning hit the aircraft fuelling system, leaving planes unable to refuel.
More than 200 planes were delayed at the London airport on Sunday morning, while another 31 departures and 18 arrivals were cancelled, according to FlightStats.
Electric storms had swept through the UK with lightning striking more than 60,000 times in 24 hours, according to the Met Office.
Stansted Airport confirmed the problem, saying that the aircraft fuelling system was unavailable "for a period this morning" due to a lightning strike.
There were 72 delayed departures and 56 delayed arrivals affecting flights going in and out of Stansted on Sunday night, FlightStats reported.
The site also listed six cancelled arrivals and six cancelled departures at the airport.
After the delays on Sunday morning, a Stansted Airport spokesman said on Twitter: "Engineers have been on site and have now restored the system, however flights may still be subject to diversion, delay or cancellation.
"We apologise for the inconvenience and advise all passengers to check with their airlines for their latest flight updates."
Flights due to land at Stansted Airport on Sunday morning were being diverted to other destinations, with passengers landing at East Midlands Airport, about 125 miles away.
One flight from Eindhoven was diverted to Birmingham Airport, and another from Bratislava landed at East Midlands.
Flights began leaving the airport in the late morning and arrivals were able to land at their correct destination as well.
The delays come as the Bank Holiday and May half term break approaches.
Several passengers tweeted their frustration at being told to board planes, only to then sit on the craft for hours without take-off.
One passenger, Lorraine Townley, said: "@Ryanair if you know that you have no access to fuel and all flights from Stansted are delayed why make us board the plane to sit on here for hours waiting for you to fix the issue? It's boiling hot and we aren't even being given free water. Making more money off us!"
Emily Morgan told Sky News her flight to Ibiza with Ryanair, scheduled to depart at 8.45am, was still on the tarmac at 10.15am and said she did not get much information.
She said: "We were due to take off at 8:45 but no information on when we will be refilled. The plane next to us was due to take off at 6:05 but is still sat there.
"People are really cross that there was no information or warning of the delays at the airport and we were allowed to board knowing there was 3 hour plus delays.
"The bar has been opened but been offered nothing complimentary."
Twitter user Lozza shared a picture of scores of people waiting in the airport for information, and claimed she had been told nothing about what was going on.
She said: "No one about to offer updates, hundreds of us huddled together in departures, airport is boiling hot and looking at a minimum 3 hour delay. I think you owe us these pints."
Tom Lewis wrote: "@Ryanair hey there pals! Can we expect any info on our 9am flight to Athens from Stansted anytime soon? The North Korea-esque info blackout isn't fun."
Antonia Bevan said she rushed through security and baggage drop only to find her flight was delayed by more than three hours.
She tweeted: "Huge delays at baggage drop, rush to get through horribly busy security only to find chaos reigning airside and flight 3.25 hours delayed..."
Vic Goddard said she was entering her fourth hour of delays and claimed Ryanair was selling snacks instead of giving out information.
According to Which?, passengers are entitled to refreshments appropriate to the delay after two hours.
The company suggests keeping any receipts for expenses at the airport if refreshments are not offered, and then claiming back from the airline.
Compensation should increase for delays of three hours or more, and once the five hour mark is hit, passengers should be given an option to fly by a different route. This does depend on whether there were "extraordinary circumstances", which weather comes into.
Jet2 passengers are reporting being given up to £20 credit on their boarding passes as they wait in the airport.
Chloe Goulding told Sky News she had been given €10 onto her boarding pass at Ibiza Airport, and needed to use it all in one go.
One Jet2 passenger seemed a little happier at the service, after being given water and allowed a look inside the cockpit.
Eric the Red tweeted: "Sat on plane at Stansted, delayed an hour so far and still no sign of fuel. Lightening strike or union strike ? Rick Astley is playing on loop... please help me."
He then added: "@jet2tweets hats off to the staff on the delayed Croatia flight, handing out water and letting families in the cockpit. #Stansted #stillnofuel."
Blogger Cathy Winston tweeted to say her 6.45am flight to Talinn was awaiting a fuel truck until 9.30am, and she hoped to reach her destination before lunch.
One passenger said her 5.55am flight was delayed until at least 3.10pm.
In a statement, Ryanair said: "A number of flights have regrettably been cancelled at Stansted Airport this morning due to an earlier airport fuelling system failure, caused by a lightning strike.
"All affected customers are being contacted and advised of their options of a full refund, a free transfer on to the next available flight or a free transfer on to an alternative routing. We apologise to all customers affected by these disruptions, which are entirely beyond our control."
A spokesman for Jet2 said: "Like all other airlines we are currently experiencing delays at London Stansted airport . Our teams are working very hard to look after customers and keep them informed."
(c) Sky News 2018: Flights delayed after lightning strike at Stansted Airport