Stansted Airport delays: Air passengers face travel chaos after 'hole' closes runway

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Air passengers faced travel chaos after reports a hole was found in the runway at one of the UK’s busiest airports.

Flights travelling to and from London Stansted were diverted and cancelled on Sunday evening after officials closed the runway for repairs to be carried out. 

Passengers who were on board flights that were diverted to other airports including Luton and East Midlands said they were told by their pilots that there was a small hole in the runway. 

The airport said the runway was closed between 5.30pm and 6.10pm for minor repairs. 

Crowds at London Stansted airport (@LisaParker83)

Eleven flights were diverted, while several others scheduled to leave London Stansted were cancelled.

Frustrated travellers said they were left standing in huge queues as they waited for information about their flights.

Marketing manager Lisa Parker, 34, was in a party of 12 who were scheduled to fly back to Glasgow after spending a weekend visiting friends in London.

Passengers queue to speak to customer services at London Stansted (@LisaParker83)

Ms Parker, a Ryanair customer who had a one-year-old and a five-year-old travelling with her, told the Standard it was “carnage” at the airport and that hundreds of people were queuing with little information from airport workers.

“When we tried to get to out gate we were met by a wall of people. There were no staff telling us what was happening. People ended up having to shout to tell people to stop coming down the escalator because there was no space,” she said.

“We arrived near our desk at 6.25 for 7pm flight, it took until 8pm to tell us it was cancelled.

“There are huge queues with everyone wondering what’s going on. I know that tomorrow Glasgow flights are full and there are 12 of us, six kids and three are under the age of three.

Air passengers suffered delays at Stansted Airport after reports of a hole in the runway (@joescaff)

“If we could get a refund and hire a car I think we will drive through the night. Tomorrow flights are full so I assume they will send us to a different airport or return us to a different airport which is a nightmare. Our car is parked at Glasgow airport.”

Other passengers took to social media to vent their frustration. 

Peter Stanton wrote on Twitter: “Flights cancelled last minute, hundreds waiting hours in London Stansted, offered flight in six days instead.”

Another passenger, tweeting under the name Antonia S, tweeted: “Utter fiasco at gates 51 to 59 #Stansted.”

BBC Journalist Joe Lynam tweeted: “There’s a ‘hole’ in the runway at Stansted airport according to the pilot of my Ryanair flight from Italy which had to divert to Luton.”

A Stansted Airport spokesman said: “Stansted Airport’s runway was temporarily closed between 5.30pm and 6.10pm to allow for minor repairs to be safely carried out.  

“This temporary measure was deemed necessary for safety reasons.

“As a result, some flights may be delayed or cancelled.”

Passengers were advised to check with their airline for their latest flight information and to rebook.

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