Thousands stranded at Stansted after storms and lightning strikes

Travel chaos disrupted bank holiday plans as lightning damaged airport fueling system

Passengers travelling to and from London Stansted Airport over the bank holiday weekend had their holiday plans severely disrupted after lightning strikes hit the airport’s fuelling system, causing flight cancellations and delays.

Ryanair was forced to cancel more than 70 departures and arrivals, affecting over 12,000 passengers at Stansted — Christian Mueller / Shutterstock Thousands stranded at Stansted after storms and lightning strikes
Ryanair was forced to cancel more than 70 departures and arrivals, affecting over 12,000 passengers at Stansted — Christian Mueller / Shutterstock

Apart from grounded outbound flights, aircraft scheduled to land in Stansted had to be diverted because there was not sufficient room on the stands. Flights landed at other London airports, including Luton and Southend, and even East Midlands.

“Due to an earlier lightning strike, the aircraft fuelling system was unavailable for a period this morning. Engineers have been on site and have now restored the system, however flights may still be subject to diversion, delay or cancellation,” Stansted Airport said in a statement.

“We apologise for the inconvenience and advise all passengers to check with their airlines for their latest flight updates.”

Ryanair, who run the largest operation at Stansted, suffered the most from the unfortunate event.

By 9am the carrier had to start cancelling flights to Barcelona, Cork, Bratislava, Pisa and Dublin.

The cancellations increased steadily during the day, including services to Rome, Athens and Budapest. The carrier was forced to cancel more than 70 departures and arrivals, affecting over 12,000 passengers.

“A number of flights have regrettably been cancelled at Stansted Airport this morning due to an earlier airport fuelling system failure, caused by a lightning strike,” a Ryanair spokesperson said.

“All affected customers are being contacted and advised of their options of a full refund, a free transfer on to the next available flight or a free transfer on to an alternative routing.

“We apologise to all customers affected by these disruptions, which are entirely beyond our control.”

Jet2 grounded a round-trip to Rhodes, Greece, and another to Nice, France. EasyJet cancelled their afternoon round-trip to Amsterdam.

One outbound British Airways flight to Ibiza was delayed by three hours because the aircraft had to fly 30 miles to Southend to obtain enough fuel for the trip.