The crew of Vueling flight VY6209 sat in full force on the plane for more than two hours waiting for the scheduled evening departure before the commander decided to fly empty in order to be in time for Florence before the introduction of restrictions on civil aviation flights at night. Recall that the flight was in the evening.
In total, 144 economy class passengers were supposed to fly on the Airbus A319 that evening. The Spanish carrier was immediately accused of flying away, leaving people with tickets in their hands due to a lack of airport staff.
The scheduled departure time was on Monday at 20:20. The patience of the crew was enough for 2 hours — the plane nevertheless took off at 10:30 pm and landed in Italy at 1 am.
Passengers were forced to queue for four hours just to check in their luggage at the Vueling counter. When they did get to their gate, the airline spokesman made an announcement: there wasn't enough staff to get everyone on the flight fast enough, so the pilots decided to leave without them.
Like a number of airports across Europe, Gatwick is suffering from a catastrophic shortage of staff after massive layoffs during the coronavirus shutdown.
Some European airports, such as Amsterdam's Schiphol and Dublin, are also reporting problems recruiting security personnel to keep up with demand. The outage is expected to last until the end of the summer.