Virgin Atlantic to deduct thousands from BAA payment
BAA closed the runway at Gatwick Airport for several hours on 11 December as it failed to predict the colder weather and de-ice the runway in time for morning arrivals and departures.
Along with other airlines, Virgin Atlantic had to delay departing flights and divert seven arriving aircraft to Luton and Stansted. Thousands of passengers were affected, including many in the Caribbean, Las Vegas and Orlando, some of whom had to be accommodated in local hotels.
Virgin Atlantic estimates its extra costs could reach £100,000, which it will be deducting from its next scheduled payment to BAA.
Sir Richard Branson, President, Virgin Atlantic, said;
"It is highly incompetent for an airport operator to fail to predict the cold weather and not have de-icing fluid on standby. Thousands of our passengers were disrupted and, while our teams looked after customers and offered refunds and hotel rooms, our costs increased sharply as a result. BAA will have to pick up these costs as it created the problem in the first place."