The airline industry is struggling to cope with rising travel demand and staff shortages. Ben, 17, was due to come home from Paris on Saturday before taking his maths GCSE today, but a canceled flight and hectic scribbling for train tickets means he’s just barely making it. Mama Emma, willing to give only their first names, said, “Ben would have a few days at home to get his overhaul in.”
And the late cancellation of a Wizz Air flight to Sicily from Gatwick sparked outrage yesterday, with security personnel stepping in when a man yelled 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 canceled between Thursday and Sunday, figures from travel data company Cirium show.
Outbound problems continued yesterday as British Airways canceled more than 100 short-haul flights at Heathrow. Tui Airways canceled six flights to Manchester and easyJet canceled 37 flights, while queues developed at Bristol airport.
EasyJet said this was “due to the continued challenging work environment”, adding: “We are very sorry and fully understand the disruption this will have caused”.
Downing Street said ministers had met with leaders in the aviation industry and Border Force to increase “resilience for the sector over the summer” to avoid further travel chaos. But the prime minister’s official spokesman said it is up to the airline industry to address the staff shortage.
He added: “Ultimately, they are responsible for making sure they have enough staff to meet the demand.”
Airline passengers have been hit by disruptions for several months due to a staff shortage of thousands of workers made redundant during the pandemic.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps rejected calls to open the door for “cheaper” overseas workers to ease the pressure, saying “The answer can’t always be to grab the lever labeled ‘more immigration’.”