| 17.1°C Dublin

Gatwick passengers hit by overnight fog as 24 flights diverted

AROUND 1,500 airline passengers faced disruption on Tuesday night after they were diverted away from Gatwick Airport due to fog and maintenance work.

A total of 24 flights were unable to land at the airport and forced to touch down at other UK destinations due to the combination of poor visibility and runway repairs, a Gatwick spokesman said.

Engineers were carrying out planned maintenance work to the airport's main runway overnight, leaving just the second landing strip open.

But the fog meant short and medium-haul flights had to be diverted to Stansted, Luton, Bristol and Heathrow from around 12.10am onwards.

A Gatwick spokesman said: "We had some planned runway maintenance works scheduled for last night which all flight operators were informed about and when we do that we have to use our second runway which is a visual strip.

"We then suffered some fog which led to 24 aircraft being diverted."

All diverted passengers have been or are in the process of being transferred by coach back to Gatwick.

Easyjet, British Airways and Thomson passengers were affected by the disruption.

Three BA short-haul flights due to depart Gatwick this morning have been cancelled because of the disruption and eight flights have been delayed, the spokesman added.

The main runway was due to reopen at 5.30am.

A spokesman for Gatwick said the main runway reopened at 5.25am and no major delays are expected today although there could be minor disruption to some flights.

"It would be prudent for passengers to check with their airlines just in case," he added.