Only one controller at Gatwick over the weekend

According to the article, 2 of the 3 controllers scheduled to work called in sick, leaving only 1 to handle the runway. Because of mandated breaks, this forced the runway to close twice further causing some flights to delay and a few more to be forced to divert until the runway reopened.

Personally, I think that this should’ve never happened in the first place. There needs to be an established minimum amount of controllers (in this case 2 of them) on duty so that something like this can’t happen. Interested in everyone else’s thoughts…


As long as it’s safe I see no issue apart from the obvious. It’s such a specialist job and has so many benefits like long breaks and days off that sourcing more isn’t easy.


It all depends on the airport. Like if this happened at KJFK… there would be a head on collision, need I saw more. Plus if the controller is the only one then he will just have to divert the planes he can’t handle. The only major thing is the ground traffic that would build up because of this.

One controller = more work for that one controller

Let’s hope that the controller didn’t face too much pressure.

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They are certified for a reason. Im sure that controller can handle that, probably some delays, but as long as they are certified, they are sure to maintain all these traffic.

Man talk about a rough day on the job. I thought fast food was stressful with 17 other people helping me. Talk about stress with hundreds of people relying on you being able to move traffic

Unfortunately unexpected circumstances happen in the #RealWorld. I’ve had to work solo as Police Officer in a town of 3,500. I know it’s not the same as controlling hundreds of aircraft but my point is that people get sick. :)

Gatwick is a mess no matter how you put it. Personally I feel that its not safe having just one controller for so many aircraft. We know what could happen, we remember that day when a Tupolev tu-154 collided mid air with a 757 freighter. Partly due to that the TCAS was not listed to by the Russian pilots but also that the controller was alone, stressed out and failed. Today there are far more advanced systems in the tower helping the controllers, if something is about to go wrong then the system will be there. But my firm opinion is that a controller should never ever be alone on an airport as large as Gatwick.

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I’m wondering why this caused issues? Possibly the difference between operations in the UK and FAA procedures?
Possibly also the difference between flying GA IFR and commercial IFR.
In the states, you can obtain IFR clearance even if the tower is closed at an airport.
Either way, this is a rough day on the job!

Im curious what the answer is, and if anyone knows, I would love to find out!

It is Both TS1 and Expert IRL!

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