British holidaymakers hoping to jet off this week face persevering with journey disruption throughout the UK, with widespread airport queues, flight delays and cancellations.
Grant Shapps is the newest politician to weigh in, laying the blame for the chaos squarely on the journey trade.
The transport secretary accused airways and tour operators of “seriously overselling flights and holidays”.
He mentioned he’d meet with airports, airways and floor handlers to “find out what’s gone wrong and how they are planning to end the current run of cancellations and delays”.
“Despite government warnings, operators seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver. This must not happen again and all efforts should be directed at there being no repeat of this over the summer – the first post-Covid summer season,” mentioned Mr Shapps.
Travel chaos ‘could get worse’ this summer time, union warns
The journey chaos at UK airports this half time period “could get worse” over the summer time, unions have warned.
Deputy common secretary of Prospect union, Garry Graham, warned that holidaymakers could not have seen the worst of the disruption but.
“Unions warned the government and aviation employers repeatedly that slashing staff through the crisis would lead to problems with the ramp-up post-pandemic,” he mentioned.
“The government point to the furlough scheme but ignore that it ended well before the majority of international restrictions on travel came to an end. Now we see staff shortages across the industry, with huge reliance on overtime to get by day-to-day.
“In many areas, like air traffic control, overtime is only a temporary sticking plaster. So, things could get worse this summer before they get better.”
Rory Sullivan1 June 2022 08:51
MPs say Tui has handled passengers ‘with complete contempt’
MPs have slammed tour operator Tui after it announced it would cancel hundred of flights and holidays from Manchester over the next month.
Two Greater Manchester MPs, former airport boss Graham Stringer and Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, have both taken shots at the holiday giant.
Mr Stringer said: “I think the treatment of customers from beginning to end has been appalling.
“They have treated them with complete contempt. They didn’t attempt to converse to passengers who had been queuing to get on the aircraft and left it with law enforcement officials to inform them, and Manchester Airport employees. It’s completely contemptuous.”
Ms Rayner mentioned: “To have a holiday cancelled at the last minute is a real kick in the teeth for families in my constituency and across Greater Manchester, many of whom were looking forward to their first time abroad since the pandemic.
“TUI say they will cancel 43 flights a week between now and the end of June but are refusing to say which ones will be affected which is only serving to add to the chaos and confusion at a time when their customers desperately need transparency and clarity.
“The offer of a refund will be small comfort to families who have long been looking forward to getting away.”
Helen Coffey1 June 2022 08:02
EasyJet cancels 40 flights
Britain’s largest price range airline, easyJet, has cancelled a minimum of 40 home and European flights on Wednesday – primarily to and from its largest base, London Gatwick airport.
The Independent calculates six home flights have been grounded from easyJet’s most important base, together with two round-trips from Gatwick to Edinburgh.
Twenty worldwide flights are cancelled, together with round-trips from Gatwick to Catania in Sicily, Prague and Bordeaux.
See the total listing of cancellations:
Simon Calder1 June 2022 07:52
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s journey liveblog. We’ll be bringing you all the newest information and updates all through the day.
Helen Coffey1 June 2022 07:51
Grant Shapps calls for solutions from aviation bosses
Airline and airport bosses have been summoned to a gathering with the transport secretary after he demanded solutions on “what’s gone wrong” over the previous few days.
Grant Shapps insisted the federal government had “done its part” to help the trade – referring to the £8bn given throughout the pandemic in addition to adjustments to the recruitment course of – and mentioned employees wanted to make sure there was no extra disruption.
“It’s been very distressing to see passengers facing yet more disruption at airports – having well-earned holidays cancelled and plans left in disarray,” he said in a statement on Thursday evening.
“We’ve been clear that trade leaders must sort out the problems we noticed at Easter head-on.
“Although some steps have been taken, we are still not seeing the progress we need to.”
The authorities shall be assembly with airports, airways and floor handlers once more to “find out what’s gone wrong and how they are planning to end the current run of cancellations and delays”, he said.
He added: “The government has done its part. It is now on airports, airlines and ground handlers to make sure everyone’s well-deserved holidays can go ahead free from the major disruption we’ve seen in recent days.”
Zaina Alibhai1 June 2022 03:03
Dublin Airport ‘can’t guarantee it will stop further delays’
Dublin Airport cannot guarantee that chaotic scenes from this weekend will not be repeated, the Irish transport minister said.
On Sunday more than 1,000 passengers missed their flights at Dublin and long queues formed for people to drop off bags and pass through security checks.
After a meeting with Dublin Airport Authority (daa) to discuss steps forward, Eamon Ryan, the transport secretary, said: “They said they cannot guarantee, but what we said is you have to do everything in your power, the government will do everything to support, so we don’t see those scenes again.
“It can’t continue. You have to provide a proper service to the public, you can’t have someone having to queue for two or three hours and then not be able to get a flight.
“It is just not acceptable and it cannot be tolerated.
“The airport has to manage its operations so it doesn’t occur.”
Liam James1 June 2022 01:40
Airport disruption could get worse as BA staff vote on strike action
There are fears the chaos seen in airports this week could continue into summer as British Airways check-in staff are balloted for strike action in a dispute over pay.
Union Unite said staff at Heathrow Airport had received a 10 per cent pay cut during the Covid pandemic, which airline bosses have refused to reverse – despite restoring their own pay to pre-pandemic levels.
The vote – covering about 500 staff – will open on 7 June and close on 27 June, and if approved will take place in July.
My colleague Lucy Thackray reports:
Zaina Alibhai1 June 2022 00:11
All the EasyJet flights cancelled from UK airports
Around 42 flights to and from London Gatwick were grounded by EasyJet, accounting for 10 per cent of its planned flights on Tuesday.
The country’s biggest budget airline gave two days’ warning to most of the estimated 6,000 customers affected, yet more were disrupted due to further “on-the-day” cancellations.
Among them were key holiday destinations including Venice, Amsterdam and Athens, but here is a list of Tuesday’s cancelled EasyJet flights.
- Belfast City
- Copenhagen (2)
- Milan Linate
- Milan Malpensa
Zaina Alibhai31 May 2022 22:49
ICYMI: Eurostar passengers forced to wait in rain after delay
Chaotic scenes have not just been seen in airports – hundreds of Eurostar passengers were forced to wait in a queue, allegedly for up to three hours.
The line at London’s St Pancras was so long it snaked out of the station and along the road outside, with people having to endure the wet weather.
Passenger Svenja O’Donnell claimed to have been patiently queuing for almost three hours, with little information given to her.
Another traveller complained about “ready outdoors within the rain” and there being “no clear indicators and clarification”.
At least one train from London to Paris departed with none of its onboard toilets working, with Eurostar putting the disruption down to a technical fault.
“Unfortunately we had a technical fault on a practice earlier this morning which meant we needed to take it out of service,” a press release learn.
“As a consequence, there are delays of 30-60 minutes on departure in London St Pancras.
“Queues are shifting and our employees are working onerous to take care of passengers and guarantee their check-in is as easy as doable.”
Read the full story here:
Zaina Alibhai31 May 2022 21:34
Labour accuses government of being ‘missing in action’
Labour has accused the government of being “missing in action” as the disruption to travel continues to intensify across the country.
“Tory ministers can’t even get the fundamentals proper,” Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said.
“They ought to present some accountability, do their job, and take concrete steps to sort out the chaos rising on their watch.”
As well as apparent technical difficulties among some airlines, the aviation industry is suffering staff shortages after letting thousands of employees go during the Covid pandemic.
Airlines and airports have repeatedly pleaded the government for more financial support over the past two years, as the worldwide travel bans wreaked havoc on the industry.
Now, with travel restrictions lifted and the demand for travel increasing, they are struggling under the pressure.
Zaina Alibhai31 May 2022 20:17