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Airport power cut grounds luggage

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Extra staff were drafted in to move passengers' luggage manually while engineers sought to restore power

Extra staff were drafted in to move passengers' luggage manually while engineers sought to restore power

Extra staff were drafted in to move passengers' luggage manually while engineers sought to restore power

Airlines are trying to reunite passengers with their luggage after a power cut at Gatwick Airport brought baggage belts to a standstill.

About 2,500 bags failed to make it on to the same flight as their owners following the outage at the West Sussex airport's North Terminal at about 3.30am on Saturday. Electricity was promptly restored but the knock-on effect left eight baggage belts frozen until they were all brought back into action again by 10.30am.

Some passengers described the disruption as "chaos" and officials at Gatwick - the world's busiest single runway airport - apologised to travellers.

About 12 out of 148 flights were delayed by more than two hours as charter flights were held back for bags to be loaded on, airport officials said. The airport said that all bags will be taken on the next available flight and, for many passengers, that will be later on Saturday or Sunday morning.

Among those caught up in the drama was best-selling crime thriller novelist Peter James who tweeted: "Aaaagghh! Total chaos at Gatwick N Terminal.

"All baggage conveyors broken down. Been advised to carry 2 days of essentials in hand luggage!" Another wrote: "Absolute chaos @gatwick_airport. Leaving bags in huge pile in centre of terminal. Ready 4 the Olympics? Don't think so."

Gatwick said an extra 30% of staff were drafted in to manually move baggage on to planes, and that the longest delay to a flight was around three hours.

In a statement, the airport added: "Our priority is to work with our airlines to get passengers on their flights with minimum delay. There haven't been any flight cancellations but there have been a small number of delays to flights.

"We appreciate the inconvenience this causes to our passengers and apologise for the disruption."

PA Media