Grant Shapps says aviation chaos 'not a Brexit issue'
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UK Airports have been facing mayhem for months now due to a staff shortage and sudden influx of travel. These problems are only exacerbated on bank holiday weekends where families all over the country are desperate to get away.
Some easyJet customers were left in the lurch when their flights were cancelled yesterday on Sunday June 5, 2022.
Flight cancellations affected passengers travelling to and from Gatwick as families scrambled to get home in the last few days of half term.
Some travellers booked on flights to Nice, Seville, Milan were also left disappointed.
At Bristol Airport, easyJet cancelled flights to Berlin, Biarritz, Nice and Prague.
A small number of BA and Wizz Air flights were also cancelled.
This was the final day of the Jubilee weekend, with many flyers trying to return home ahead of the new week.
The cancellations affected passengers flying to and from the UK.
But how has the UK airport situation become so bad?
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that too many airline staff were laid off during the pandemic.
Airlines are now struggling to recruit such a large number of workers to replace them.
This has been compounded by a surge in international travel as Covid restrictions were lifted on a global scale.
Popular periods such the Easter holidays, half term and bank holidays are all the more stressful and volatile as families tend to choose these times to travel.
As for how to rectify the flight cancellation madness across the UK, Shapps said it was down to the airlines themselves.
“The Government doesn’t run airports, it doesn’t run airlines – the industry needs to do that.
“We did, of course, provide £8billion of support to the sector, plus all that furlough money as well,” he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme.
He added that the airlines “cut too far” on staff during the pandemic.
However, airlines are now reemploying staff across the UK.
But Shapps advised against calling in the Army for a quick fix.
“The Army is not a snap solution to every problem.
“Secondly, they are being deployed in increasing numbers to eastern Europe, to the Baltics, in what is a war situation and that’s what the Army are principally there for.”
He continued that while the Government would obviously provide support during this tough time for aviation, he didn’t anticipate that they would call on the Army.
Shapps also explained that the flight cancellation crisis is not limited to the UK.
He cited similar problems in Amsterdam and across Europe.
easyJet told Express.co.uk: “Over the bank holiday easyJet operated over 6,500 flights carrying around a million customers. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing challenging operating environment around 80 flights were cancelled yesterday. Many of these flights were cancelled ahead of customers arriving at the airport.
“We are very sorry and fully understand the disruption this will have caused for our customers. Our customer service hours and hotel accommodation sourcing were extended to support impacted customers and help get them to their destination as soon as possible.
“Customers were provided with options to rebook or receive a refund as well as hotel accommodation and meals where required, along with information on how to arrange this quickly online or via the app.
“Once again, we are very sorry to customers impacted by these cancellations.”
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