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Manchester Airport flights resume after power cut chaos


By Ewan GawneBBC News • Simon BrowningTransport reporter

Passenger footage shows people stranded in a dark terminal at Manchester Airport

Flights at Manchester Airport have resumed after a power cut caused a day of chaos.

Up to 90,000 passengers were effected as flights were cancelled and scheduled arrivals diverted.

Check-in and departures at Terminal 1 and 2 have now fully re-started, the airport said in an update.

Officials said further disruption is not expected on Monday and they are working to reschedule cancelled flights and reunite passengers without their bags.

Airport managing director Chris Woodroofe said a “fault with a cable had caused a power surge that took down security systems and baggage screening”.

Mr Woodroofe said: “When Terminal 1 and 2 can’t depart passengers for an entire morning there is going to be an impact.

“And I’m really sorry that happened and we’re now making sure as we look forward, that impact doesn’t carry on into tomorrow.”

He said an investigation into what happened would take place in the coming week.

‘Mess’

Huge queues formed when a quarter of all flights from the airport had to be cancelled.

Passengers travelling via Terminals 1 and 2 had been told to stay away.

Aviation analytics company Cirium said that by lunchtime 66 outbound flights and 50 inbound were axed.

The disruption comes at the start of the summer holiday season at the UK’s third-busiest airport, which has apologised to passengers.

Kelvin Knaver, of St Helens, Merseyside, had been due to fly to Amsterdam with EasyJet before his flight was cancelled.

He told BBC North West Tonight: “It’s been a mess.

“There’s such a backlog that it’s going to take forever to clear.”

Passenger Kelvin Knaver speaks as he is stranded at the airport

Passenger Kelvin Knaver said the airport was a “mess” after his flight to Amsterdam was cancelled

Many people affected posted on social media photographs of long queues for check-in desks and passport control, and complained of a lack of communication from staff.

Pictures and video footage showed long queues of people, some waiting in near darkness.

Mr Woodroofe had earlier said that power had been restored but that there would be no departures at all from the two terminals for the rest of the day.

More than 100 flights had been due to depart from the UK’s largest airport outside London when the problems started, and many inbound flights had to be diverted.

The airport told the BBC inbound flights had been diverted because “planes can’t take off” due to limited space.

This made it harder to accept aircraft, which would be sent elsewhere, a spokesman said.

Among those affected was a flight arriving from Houston in Texas which had to go to London Heathrow while another, coming from Singapore, was forced to land at London Gatwick.

Queues at Manchester aiport

The airport urged passengers to contact their airlines

The airport’s back-up power came on when the primary system went down, but the situation was complicated by mains power cutting out multiple times.

Airlines have said problems with baggage processing meant customers could only board with a cabin bag.

In a statement, Jet2 said handlers had been unable to load bags on to planes due to the outage.

An Easyjet spokesman said passengers could only board their flight with a cabin bag because of problems with the baggage system.

Passengers flying via Terminal 3 were also warned about delays.

‘Chaos’

Bobbi Hadgraft, who is travelling to watch England at Euro 2024, told BBC Radio Manchester she arrived at the airport at about 04:00 BST to see “enormous queues” outside Terminal 1.

“We were worried we would miss our flight,” she said, adding the power outage had affected display boards and scanners so staff had to direct passengers around the site.

Olwyn Hocking said one member of staff looked like they were trying to hide as “hundreds and hundreds of people poured into the airport, with not a clue there was problem”.

She said it was “chaos”.

Passengers queue amid disruption at Manchester airport

Flights travelling out of Terminal 1 and 2 have been affected by the power loss

Balázs Fazekas, who was due to fly to Montenegro for a week-long holiday with his wife and eight-month-old baby, arrived at 02:00 BST and, after eight hours standing in queues, found out the flight had been cancelled.

“There are bigger issues in life than this,” he said, but added the lack of communication from the airport had been “quite frustrating”.

Another passenger, Phillip Banfield, said his plane had taken off while he was stuck after going through passport control.

He said he was surrounded by an “enormous number of passengers, stranded, wondering how they’re going to continue onwards journeys”.

It had been “virtually impossible” to get through check-in and security, which was only feasible if you were just carrying hand luggage, he added.



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