Gatwick airport: Large queues following half-term getaway
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Airline EasyJet cancelled 80 flights on Sunday, June 5, “due to the ongoing challenging environment”. EasyJet had the majority of cancelled flights from Gatwick Airport on Sunday but British Airways, Wizz Air and Vueling are also thought to have been affected.
The disruption is a result of the aviation industry suffering from staff shortages as thousands of employees were let go while travel was limited during the coronavirus pandemic.
Airlines are struggling to recruit new workers as the processing of security checks is being delayed by Government red tape.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed travel firms have “seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver” despite government warnings.
He has said he will “do absolutely everything possible to make sure” UK holidaymakers are able to get away without issues during the summer.
Mr Shapps said that he has answered industry demands to speed up security checks and allow staff in non-security related jobs to start training.
However, he said it is up to the sector itself to fix the issues as he accused airline bosses of “cutting too far”.
During the pandemic, £8billion of state support was given to the industry in addition to furlough money to keep staff while COVID-19 travel restrictions were enforced.
He said: “Clearly, they have been taken by surprise by the way people have returned to travel after two years of being locked down, but I’m not surprised – we were saying all along: ‘You will need to be ready for this’.”
The boss of Cornwall Airport Newquay admitted that the travel industry should have been better prepared to manage the chaos but is optimistic the situation will improve before Britons head off on summer holidays.
Tim Jeans told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, June 9: “We should have planned better, we should have understood that the peak would come back, particularly this summer, but it came back earlier than people anticipated.”
He added that some airlines, airports and ground handlers “have, frankly, been caught out” by the sharp increase in travellers.
He added: “It is going to take 18 months for our industry to recover, but that doesn’t mean there should be the sort of chaos and disruption we’ve seen in the last few weeks.”
So how about YOU? Are you still going on holiday despite the latest travel chaos? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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