FRUSTRATED passengers endured waits of up to ten hours at Jersey Airport yesterday, as storm-force winds brought travel chaos on the day schools broke up for Easter.
After the weather led to the cancellation of all yesterday’s ferry services, air passengers were next to see their travel plans disrupted or canned as winds peaked at more than 60mph.
No flights landed before 1.23pm yesterday, when a FlyDirect service from Tenerife touched down. The first departure, a Blue Islands’ service to Southampton, got away at 1.59pm.
Cancelled departures included flights to Southampton, Guernsey, East Midlands, Exeter and London Heathrow, while passengers on the ‘red-eye’ services to Gatwick (easyJet) and Heathrow (British Airways) faced delays of more than eight hours before taking off after 3pm.
While acknowledging that operators and Airport staff could not control the weather, many passengers vented their frustration, with Eric Le Cornu describing the Airport as ‘an absolute utter shambles’ and ‘totally unacceptable’.
‘The announcements are of poor quality and don’t match information on the screens, leading to mass confusion,’ he said. ‘There is no airport management to be seen. It’s freezing cold, shops aren’t open, there’s no food or drink in the café and there are long queues because there are so few staff.’
A Ports of Jersey spokesperson admitted that the Airport had been ‘unusually busy’ because of weather disruption, while many businesses operating in the departures area were short-staffed as a result of recruitment challenges.
The café and duty-free shop had both opened on time, the spokesperson added, while Airport staff were working in outlets as a result of ‘exceptional circumstances’.
With winds gradually easing, services were beginning to return to normal by mid-afternoon.