Hundreds of passengers hoping fly out of Gatwick on the airport’s busiest-ever day for departures have had their flights cancelled.

Landings were suspended In the early hours of Friday morning after a British Airways flight arrived from Naples with a hydraulic leak.

The Airbus A320 landed safely with no injuries but fire trucks were called out to attend the incident.

A spokesperson for BA said: “Our flight landed safely after our pilots requested a priority landing as a precaution after a technical fault.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority, and our engineers are currently conducting a thorough check of the aircraft.”

While the runway was closed, one easyJet flight from Corfu was diverted to Luton, and another from Paphos went to Birmingham.

As a result of the aircraft being out of position, easyJet flights to Madrid and Munich this morning have been cancelled.

Elsewhere, the main issue affecting airline is the strike by pilots employed by Ryanair in Ireland.

Twenty-six flights to and from Dublin have been grounded, including multiple cancellations serving Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Manchester.

Round-trips to Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle and Stansted have also been grounded.

Further cancellations are expected on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week, as cabin crew in Europe join the pilots in industrial action.

Gatwick had been expecting 86,000 outbound passengers on Friday, though that figure will be reduced by the cancellations.

On the railways, commuters and long-distance travellers on the Midland Mainline from London St Pancras to Luton face delays and possible cancellations after a large branch got caught in the overhead electric wires between Radlett and St Albans station.

“As a result, trains will be diverted on to alternative lines until the branch has been removed,” said Network Rail.

Travellers with cheaper off-peak tickets on Virgin Trains will be able to use them at any time after the morning rush. The train operator has relaxed its normal peak rules for afternoon and evening travel every Friday until the end of August.

Drivers have been warned to stay off the roads between midday and early evening on Friday. The M25, M6, M5, M1 and M20 are expected to be extremely busy.

Dover is expecting its busiest weekend of the summer on Saturday and Sunday. Motorists heading for the south of France on Saturday are warned that traffic conditions will be “very difficult”.

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