The aviation industry is struggling to cope with the rise in demand for travel alongside a staffing shortage. Ben, 17, was due home from Paris on Saturday before taking his maths GCSE today but a cancelled flight and a frantic scrabble for train tickets mean he will only just make it. Mum Emma, who would only give their first names, said: “Ben was going to have a couple of days at home to get his revision in.”
And the late cancellation of a Wizz Air flight to Sicily from Gatwick sparked anger yesterday, with security staff stepping in when a man shouted at staff. Rosie, 28, who was booked on the flight with her husband and their children, aged two and 18 months, said: “There was no communication.”
Nearly 190 international flights to the UK were cancelled between Thursday and Sunday, figures from travel data firm Cirium showed.
Outbound issues continued yesterday when British Airways axed more than 100 short-haul flights at Heathrow. Tui Airways cancelled six flights at Manchester and easyJet scrapped 37, while queues formed at Bristol airport.
EasyJet said it was “due to the ongoing challenging operating environment”, adding “we are very sorry and fully understand the disruption this will have caused”.
Downing Street said ministers had been meeting with aviation industry leaders and Border Force to increase “resilience for the sector throughout the summer” to avert further travel chaos. But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said it was down to the aviation industry to address staff shortages.
He added: “Ultimately they are responsible for making sure they have enough staff to meet demand.”
Airline passengers have been hit by disruption for several months because of a lack of staff from thousands of workers being let go in the pandemic.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps rejected calls to open the door to “cheaper” overseas workers to relieve the pressure, saying: “The answer can’t always be to reach for the lever marked ‘more immigration’.”