THE boss of Gatwick has publicly apologised after it emerged that only four buses were laid on to transfer passengers to their flights after flooding wrecked Christmas Eve travel at the airport's North Terminal.

Stewart Wingate told the Commons Transport Committee the actions of management "fell short" and would have an impact on the airport's reputation.

MPs heard how the airport, expecting merely to have to contend with strong winds, had learned on the afternoon of December 24 last year that a nearby river would flood in 30 minutes. It caused flight-wrecking flood problems to North Terminal and management switched passengers to the South Terminal. But easyJet told MPs that only four buses were available to ferry passengers between the terminals. Mr Wingate said it would have cancelled flights earlier had it not been such a busy day, adding that the unprecented terminal switch had been a "step too far" and he apologised to passengers, particularly those who had waited all day for their flight only to hear that it had been cancelled.

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