Gatwick Airport was forced to temporarily shut its runway four times because of staff sickness, causing flights to be diverted and delays for hundreds of passengers.
Several inbound flights were diverted or delayed due to the staff shortage at the West Sussex airport.
Only one air traffic controller out of a scheduled three was able to work in the control tower at the time, reportedly due to staff sickness.
The runway was closed to enable the controller to take mandatory breaks on shift through Sunday and Monday.
Controllers need to take two one-hour breaks per shift, meaning the runway was closed from 1.40am-3.20am and 4.10am-5.20am on Sunday and Monday – four closures in total.
Two inbound flights were diverted and several were delayed on Sunday morning and four were delayed on Monday.
The air traffic controller took the two one-hour breaks per shift to coincide with when there were no scheduled departures.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said the staffing issue had been resolved:
“We worked closely with air traffic controllers and airlines to minimise the impact to passengers. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”