More flights to be cancelled this summer with no end in sight to travel misery


Airlines are under pressure to ‘keep consumers more informed’ about their flights (Picture: Getty)

Airport chaos in the UK is not expected to end any time soon as the Government urges airlines not to axe flights on the day they are due to leave.

Tens of thousands of travellers have had their plans ruined at the last minute as airports and airlines, which sacked workers during lockdowns, struggle to keep up with post-pandemic demand.

It seems there is no end in sight as authorities are currently discussing the best time to cancel flights.

The Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority wrote a joint letter to the whole industry.

They said: ‘We think it’s important that each airline reviews afresh its plans for the remainder of the summer season until the end of September to develop a schedule that is deliverable.

‘Your schedules must be based on the resources you and your contractors expect to have available, and should be resilient for the unplanned and inevitable operational challenges that you will face.

‘While cancellations at any time are a regrettable inconvenience to passengers, it is our view that cancellations at the earliest possibility to deliver a more robust schedule are better for consumers than late notice on-the-day cancellations.’

The letter also insisted airlines must have ‘the processes and resources in place to keep consumers informed’ about their rights during disruption, such as having ‘sufficiently staffed call centres and user-friendly digital channels’.


Holidaymakers queue for check-in at Manchester Airport.
Airlines and airports are struggling to keep up with post-pandemic demand (Picture: LNP)

Holidaymakers and commuters flying from Bristol once again.
People are waiting in incredibly long queues and having their flights delayed or cancelled (Picture: LT1 Media)

British Airways planes.
British Airways reportedly sacked 10,000 workers during the pandemic (Picture: Getty)

British Airways, which reportedly fired 10,000 staff members during the pandemic, has been forced to cancel more than 100 flights a day.

But the airline’s corporate affairs director Lisa Tremble refuses to acknowledge the mass firings have anything to do with current cancellations.

Labour MP Darren Jones, who chairs the Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, asked her: ‘Do you think there was a connection between sacking 10,000 members of your staff using aggressive fire-and-rehire tactics, and now cancelling the most flights per day?’

Ms Tremble replied ‘it’s very complicated’, stating that the company ‘had to protect as many jobs as possible’.

Mr Jones responded: ‘We’ve asked you a very direct question, I think three times, and you’ve chosen not to answer it.’

Trade union Unite told MPS a ranking of airlines based on their number of cancellations ‘almost exactly corresponds’ with how many jobs they cut during the pandemic.

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Despite this easyJet chief operating officer, Sophie Deckers, said the airline did plan for the current spike in demand but delays in new cabin crew recruits receiving security passes have ‘caught [easyJet] by surprise’.

She said that a process which used to take 10 weeks is now taking 14 – largely because the process requires employment references and the pandemic has left people with a complicated hiring history.

‘In many cases, people have had 10 jobs in the last couple of years,’ Ms Deckers said.

‘Maybe some of them were only for a couple of weeks, but we’re required to get a reference from each of those, so that’s what’s taking the length of time.

‘We have today 142 crew ready and trained to go online that don’t have their ID passes.’

Sue Davies, head of consumer rights at consumer group Which?, said the aviation industry and the Government ‘need to shoulder the responsibility for the chaos that we’ve seen’.

She acknowledged the travel industry has been ‘particularly affected’ by the pandemic but stressed how much consumers had ‘lost money and suffered huge emotional stress’.

Ms Davies accused airlines of selling tickets when ‘they don’t know for sure that those flights are actually going to be able to go’.

‘There’s just blatant flouting of consumer rights and a failure to put passenger interests first,’ she said.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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