Tens of thousands of mid-term holidaymakers are stranded abroad after up to 200 flights were canceled over the weekend.
Airline easyJet canceled 80 flights on Sunday “due to the still difficult environment”, while Eurostar passengers faced delays and cancellations due to power problems near Paris.
The vast majority of cancellations at Gatwick Airport on Sunday were for easyJet flights, but British Airways, Wizz Air and Vueling were also reportedly affected.
The aviation industry is suffering from a staff shortage after laying off thousands of people during the coronavirus pandemic.
Airlines are now struggling to recruit new workers and get their security checks processed, which they say are being held up by government red tape.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed travel companies had “severely oversold flights and holidays relative to their ability to deliver” despite government warnings.
He said he would “do absolutely everything possible to ensure” that holidaymakers can get away from it all over the summer without any problems.
Following a meeting with airports, airlines and ground handling companies last week, the Minister said he had responded to industry requests to speed up security checks for workers and to allow certain employees in non-safety-related jobs to undergo immediate training.
But he said it was up to the sector to work out the problems, accusing bosses of ‘cutting too far’, despite receiving £8bn of state support and accessing furlough funds for keeping staff on the books while COVID travel restrictions were in place.
He said: “Obviously they were surprised at how people came back to travel after two years of lockdown, but I’m not surprised – we were saying all the time, ‘You’ll have to be ready for this’ . »
Peter Mehnert attempts to travel to Italy. His flight from Bristol with EasyJet was canceled on Sunday. And, after spending a day traveling to Gatwick, he faces further delays.
“I checked into Bristol airport and then had to make arrangements, take a taxi, two trains, two more taxis and a coach to get to Gatwick and then spend the night in Gatwick,” said- he told Sky News.
‘We are sorry’
Eurostar has apologized to its passengers after train departures from Paris Gare du Nord were delayed “due to a computer system problem at border control”.
“We’re sorry for any impact this may have on your plans,” a spokesperson said.
On Saturday, flights from Orly airport in Paris were suspended and there were delays at Charles de Gaulle airport after severe thunderstorms and hailstorms hit the country, leaving a woman dead, 14 injured and vineyards devastated.
In the UK, London commuters trying to get back to work after the Jubilee weekend also faced severe disruption due to a Tube strike.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are taking industrial action in a dispute over jobs and pensions.