Airline Tui apologises after passengers’ return to Belfast hit by lengthy delays

Hundreds of holidaymakers unable to return from Greece as flight rescheduled multiple times since Wednesday due to technical difficulties

Airline Tui has apologised after hundreds of passengers were left unable to return to Belfast for a lengthy period due to delays.

Footage on social media showed passengers, including children, lying on airport floors.

Northern Irish holidaymakers trying to travel from Rhodes in Greece to Belfast on Wednesday night had their flight rescheduled multiple times due to technical difficulties.

Those affected by the delays were offered somewhere to stay but many chose to remain in the airport citing poor conditions at the accommodation offered by Tui.


In a statement, Tui said the aircraft, which is operated by Sunwing, was delayed due to a technical issue which meant the flight crew were over the legal working hour limit.

After this customers were given a new departure time on Thursday.

Following a further delay to the Thursday flight, the airline said passengers were provided with accommodation and food vouchers.

The statement read: “Unfortunately, the technical issue needed further work so with the safety of our customers and crew in mind the difficult decision was made to extend the delay.

“All passengers were provided with overnight accommodation; however some chose to stay at the airport.

“Those who stayed at the airport were provided with vouchers for meals and refreshments. A gesture of goodwill has also been offered to all customers.”

The new estimated time of departure was 7.35pm local time on Friday.

Tui added: “We know that this is not how anyone wants to end their holiday and would once again like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.

“All customers will be entitled to claim EU261 flight delay compensation.”

One passenger on the flight, Niamh McDonald, told the BBC they were treated “like dogs”.

“The treatment we’ve got is just atrocious and we’ve been treated like dogs, to be honest.

“And it’s just put us off ever travelling again. The communication has been terrible, to be honest.

“We’ve been sleeping on the floors of the airport for the past few nights, elderly people on the floors, children on the floors. Yeah, it’s just been terrible.”

Passengers attempting to travel from Ibiza to Northern Ireland also experienced issues with the airline.

After a delay spanning more than 24 hours, some passengers said they found it difficult to communicate with airline representatives.

In relation to the Ibiza flight, a statement from Tui said a new part was needed due to technical issues with the aircraft, also operated by Sunwing.

“We completely understand the frustration of customers who were due to depart Ibiza on flight TOM1331 yesterday, and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused,” the statement read.

“The safety of our customers and crew is our utmost priority.

“The aircraft customers were meant to travel on developed a technical issue that required a new part to be transported from overseas. This also meant the flight crew were over the legal working hour limit.

“Customers were communicated with throughout the delay, and we provided them with accommodation until their new expected flight time of 9am the following day.

“Unfortunately, the new part for the aircraft was delayed in customs which caused the unexpected further delay. The aircraft has now departed and customers are on their way home.” - PA