The BA flight to Gibraltar International Airport was disrupted on two separate occasions on Tuesday, initially when it was prevented from landing on the Rock while air traffic controllers tried to contact a Guardia Civil helicopter which encroached into British airspace. The plane was eventually cleared to land – but its departure was delayed by roughly 10 minutes as a result of a fixed-wing Spanish plane which likewise strayed into British airspace.
Neither of the two offending aircraft had contacted air traffic control in Gibraltar, the Foreign Office subsequently confirmed.
A passenger who was on the plane – which was also carrying His Excellency the Governor Ed Davis, the Queen’s representative on the Rock – told Express.co.uk: “I was on BA 490 Heathrow to Gib yesterday.
“We do a big circuit then we come in and have a perfect landing.
“As we taxi to the terminal, the pilot apologises for being a few minutes behind schedule but explains that, ‘an unidentified Spanish military aircraft was in the area’ so he had to wait for it to clear before he could land.”
The eyewitness said: “As I walked into the terminal, I could see a long queue of EasyJet passengers all waiting outside the Terminal but not able to board their aircraft.”
He suggested the flight had been delayed for the same reason – but an EasyJet spokeswoman told Express.co.uk this was not the case.
She said: “We can confirm that flight EZY2245 from London Luton to Gibraltar on 28 January was delayed departing London Luton due to a technical issue which meant EZY2246 from Gibraltar to London Luton was delayed departing Gibraltar as a result.”