EasyJet has apologised after dozens of British passengers were left stranded on a Greek island for two days, with some of the disruption reportedly caused by efforts to protect the area’s endangered turtles.
Some 180 passengers were affected after an easyJet flight from Zante to Gatwick airport was cancelled on Sunday due to a technical fault, the airline said.
Engineers were unable to fix the problem on Monday and a replacement aircraft could not be sent due to a night curfew rule at the airport, which is reportedly in place to protect the island’s loggerhead turtles from lights and noise.
Green Sea Turtles, Bora Bora Photo by Extreme Nature pic.twitter.com/tH2qcdEPUa
— Earth Pics (@EarthPix) July 29, 2017
EasyJet said around a quarter of passengers flew home on alternative flights, while the remaining passengers returned on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the airline said: “The safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority and we will only operate if it is safe to do so.
“We do all possible to try and minimise delays and as such planned to send a replacement aircraft.
— Oceana (@oceana) July 31, 2017
“Unfortunately, due to the night curfew rule at the airport, we were unable to get the replacement aircraft into the airport yesterday. The flight departed Zante and arrived at London Gatwick today.
“We are very sorry for the delay and thank customers for their understanding.”
A number of passengers affected by the disruption expressed anger on social media.
Rebecca Clark tweeted easyJet on Monday asking: “Can you let us know what’s going on? Day two stuck at Zante airport. Now replacement flight isn’t going. No staff coming to see us!”
One passenger wrote on Twitter: “Families stuck in zakynthos for two days. No easyjet help, no accommodation, families tired and hungry.”
Another passenger tweeted: “Stuck in Zante airport for 28 hrs waiting for Easyjet to fix a plane, no information, zero customer service. Easyjet this is a disgrace!”
EasyJet said passengers affected by the delays will be entitled to compensation.