UK airlines under fire for jubilee and summer getaway chaos
Britain’s airports are coming under fire for failing to prepare for this week’s jubilee getaway and the busy summer season, as passengers face long delays and cancelled flights.
“The U.K.’s airports are in crisis because thousands of jobs have been slashed,” Sharon Graham, head of the country’s biggest trade union Unite, said on June 1.
The airline industry was one of the hardest-hit sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Flights were grounded by lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Carriers and airports laid off thousands of employees.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab accused airlines of a “lack of preparation” in the run-up to the holiday surge.
“Throughout the pandemic, the government provided 8 billion ($10 billion) of support,” he told Sky News television.
“There’s been some tweaks to the regulation to make it easier for the airline industry to hire. I don’t think the airline operators have done the recruitment that they should have done, and taken the advice that the transport secretary gave them.”
Airlines for Europe, which represents EU airlines, predicted the problem would continue “for a good chunk of the summer season”.
In response, the industry organisation representing U.K.-registered carriers, Airlines U.K., said the sector was still emerging from “the worst crisis in the history of aviation”.
“Airlines were grounded for almost two years as a result of one of the most restrictive travel regimes in the world and with this in mind, the sector has had only a matter of weeks to recover and prepare for one of the busiest summers we’ve seen in many years.”
In Manchester but also at London Heathrow and Gatwick, and elsewhere, there have been hundreds of cancellations this week, affecting companies such as tour operator Tui, British Airways and easyJet.