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Man jailed after assaulting airline staff at Gatwick Airport

A man who assaulted airline staff on board his honeymoon flight to Egypt has been jailed.

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Michael Cunnett was also ordered to pay compensation to the two easyJet employees following the incident at Gatwick Airport on 7 February.

After being asked not to use his e-cigarette, Cunnett became aggressive and punched one of the crew in the face. When another member of crew attempted to intervene, he too was punched in the face.

The 38-year-old plasterer, of Tonstall Road, Epsom, Surrey, was escorted from the flight – which had yet to depart – and his aggressive demeanour continued outside, where he was arrested.

Whilst on route to custody, he repeatedly kicked the van, causing damage. He was further arrested for this.

At Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday (2 April), he was jailed for seven months for interfering with aircrew and ordered to pay £500 compensation to each of the two men he assaulted. He faced no separate penalty for criminal damage.

Sergeant Ian Hatcher, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said:

“This sentence reflects the seriousness of the offences committed, and we’d like to make it clear that disruptive or abusive behaviour at Gatwick Airport will not be tolerated.

“Police officers and airline staff have a right to go about their daily duties without being subjected to abuse. Cunnett’s actions were completely unacceptable, and he was arrested and charged with a number of offences accordingly.

“One of our force priorities is to keep people safe and feeling safe, and anyone who compromises this will be dealt with robustly.”

Gatwick

Gatwick Airport to receive £8 million Government grant to protect local jobs and bounce back after coronavirus

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Crawley’s MP Henry Smith has welcomed an announcement from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that Gatwick Airport is now able to apply for a Government grant worth up to £8 million per business, helping to protect jobs and the local economy in Crawley.

The Airport and Ground Operators Support Scheme, which opened on Friday 29th January, will help Gatwick (and other commercial airports across England) to cover losses on costs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, including airfield operations, contracted services such as airfield and runway maintenance, and business rate bills.

Airports and ground handlers can apply to the scheme on GOV.UK, and if successful, should receive their funding by the end of the financial year.

The financial support scheme, which follows the Government’s extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention (furlough) Scheme, is open for applications until 21st February 2021.

This investment will help support Gatwick Airport following the introduction of international travel restrictions designed to protect public health and prevent the spread of Covid-19 as the Government continues to roll out its world-leading vaccination programme.

Henry said;

“I’m pleased that Gatwick Airport will receive up to £8 million to help it protect jobs during these challenging times.

“This funding offers vital support for Gatwick Airport – which supports so many jobs and businesses in Crawley.

“The Government has provided unprecedented levels of support to protect jobs and businesses through the pandemic, and this latest support will be hugely important for helping Crawley to build back better after coronavirus.

“As Crawley MP and Chair of the Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group I’ve continued to urge Government to ensure support for the industry and this will remain my call to ministers.”

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented;

“A thriving aviation industry has been central to the success of this country and while we recognise the testing conditions airports are currently facing as a result of the pandemic, I believe that the sector will be ready to bounce back once restrictions are lifted.

“Today’s scheme is another step in the right direction, providing vital support for an industry that is raring to get back to business, once it is safe to do so.”

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