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Sunday 22 October 2017

'Treated like animals' - Irish passengers among hundreds stranded at airport after fuel glitch

  • Passengers described the conditions as 'absolute carnage'
  • Some people stuck on plane for eleven hours before departing
  • Authorities 'cannot confirm' when operations will be restored
Tourists being left stranded at Lisbon airport in Portugal after a fuel pump breakdown grounded flights Photo: PA
Tourists being left stranded at Lisbon airport in Portugal after a fuel pump breakdown grounded flights Photo: PA
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A fuel glitch at Lisbon Airport on Wednesday caused travel chaos as a number of flights were cancelled, with passengers being forced to sleep on the floor of the airport.

Two flights to Dublin Airport - one with British Airways and one with Aer Lingus - were both cancelled, while a Ryanair flight scheduled to fly at 10am was also delayed and a number of others cancelled.

A failure in the underground pumping system used to deliver fuel to airplanes was the root of the problem.

Passengers described the conditions as "animal-like", while those booked on an easyJet flight from Gatwick were forced to spend eleven hours stuck on a plane before departing at around 6am this morning.

Ella Sykes (27) from Leeds, said the scene in the terminal was "absolute carnage" when she and a friend arrived at the airport at 2pm for a 5.30pm Ryanair flight to Manchester after a short break in Lisbon.

Speaking to the Press Association on Thursday morning, she said: "We have been here all night.

Stranded passengers at Lisbon Airport after a fuel pump breakdown grounded flights Photo: PA
Stranded passengers at Lisbon Airport after a fuel pump breakdown grounded flights Photo: PA

"It's 17 hours now and we still haven't had any information from Ryanair. We have given up on the queues. We've booked a flight from Faro tomorrow morning.

"We are exhausted and we've had to fork out for accommodation overnight as well. And I was meant to be at work this morning."

She added that they were "treated like animals".

Airport authorities could not confirm when operations would be fully restored.

In its last statement at 1am, it said the situation would be resolved "shortly" but delays will be widespread on Thursday.

Ryanair also issued a statement on the matter: "Due to a fuelling system outage at Lisbon Airport last night, we regret that we were forced to cancel a number of flights to/from Lisbon. All affected customers were provided with refreshment and accommodation vouchers, were contacted by email and SMS text message and advised of their options of a full refund, a free transfer onto the next available flight, or a free transfer onto an alternative flight route, in full compliance with EU261 legislation.

"Ryanair sincerely apologised to all customers affected by this disruption, which was entirely beyond our control."

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