A flight from London to the Isle of Man was diverted mid-flight on Sunday due to the closure of the Isle of Man airport.
Richard Slee’s flight from London City to the Isle of Man was hijacked and forced to land in Liverpool instead due to the closure.
Four flights were cancelled, including the 6:00 p.m. to Liverpool and the 9:05 p.m. to London Gatwick on Sunday, and the 7:00 a.m. to London City and 7:30 a.m. to Liverpool on Monday.
The examiner spoke to Mr Slee as he waited at the Liverpool ferry terminal.
He said: “I’m sure there are different versions of the story, but the version given to us on the plane was that the airport would not remain open to facilitate the plane’s arrival. ”
“Given my experience in the past, they will say it’s unavoidable but we were 25 minutes from landing, we were in the air.” Why was this the case? If they had said that when we were in London, we would have known where we were instead of going through all this.
“It puts a damper on some people’s first experience on the island.”
He was due to fly with Loganair at 11.45am on Sunday to the Isle of Man from Heathrow, which was canceled and he was transferred to London City by coach. He boarded the plane for the island, but it was diverted to Liverpool mid-flight.
Mr Slee said: ‘We kept getting messages about further delays when we were in City and then the plane left around 9pm, no issues at that time.’
‘We were flying over Birmingham and learned that they had been advised by the airport that there was an air traffic control problem in the Isle of Man and that they had tried to negotiate to keep the airport open, but it did not succeed.
“In the absence of that, we turned away to Liverpool.”
He continued: “We were told the luggage would be at the baggage carousel, but as we had already left we could not return to the baggage area. One of the security guards threatened to report us to the police for trying to get in to get our bags. The passengers were placed in a hotel at Albert Dock, but many decided to book on the next ferry.
“We arrived at the hotel at 1.55am and were told we would be notified of Liverpool flight departure times by email,” Mr Slee said. “As of yesterday (Monday) morning, no emails have been received.
“We’ve cut our losses and booked on the Seacat instead, but there are still a lot of people missing their luggage.”
Isle of Man Airport said: ‘The published closing time for Isle of Man Airport is 8.45pm but a seasonal extension to 9.30pm has been agreed to allow for evening service towards Gatwick.
“Operators can experience delays during the day and requests are often received for a further extension beyond 9:30 p.m. Where possible, a further extension is granted until 11 p.m., to ensure staff and resources are available for reopening the following morning. “The Isle of Man Airport will still be working hard to accommodate passengers arriving on a late flight, but staffing constraints meant that yesterday it was not possible to accommodate the 11pm extension. This position was communicated to all airlines on Saturday.
“The staff’s flexibility and willingness to help passengers should not be questioned. In May and June, the Isle of Man Airport extended its operating hours beyond the agreed seasonal extension of 9.30pm on 48 out of 61 days.