Staff shortages could continue for the next year, warns expert
Massive queues at Stansted Airport as staff shortages affect passengers
Tuesday has brought more flight cancellations and chaotic scenes at the UK’s airports as staff shortages continue to impact on travellers’ plans.
Huge queues were seen at Manchester and Birmingham airports this morning, with photos taken at the former showing passengers snaking in lines that reached outside the terminal building.
One airport recruitment expert said staffing issues could affect aviation for the next year.
Kully Sandhu, the managing director of Aviation Recruitment Network Limited, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme he currently had more than 300 live vacancies on his site.
“My personal opinion, it is going to take at least the next 12 months for the industry vacancy-wise to settle down,” he said.
Meanwhile, easyJet and British Airways continue to cancel flights, having axed more than 80 scheduled services between them today.
Their main bases, London Heathrow and London Gatwick, are worst affected.
Both airlines have blamed a shortage of staff due to Covid-related absences.
Follow the latest updates below.
101-year-old known as ‘Hurricane Hazel’ signs up to run Toronto Airport
An energetic 101-year-old former mayor has just signed up to another three years running Canada’s biggest airport.
Hazel McCallion – known as “Hurricane Hazel” – retired at 93 from her role as the mayor of Canadian city Missisauga, after 36 years in office.
Now she has renewed her contract as director of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA), as well as staying on as special advisor to the University of Toronto Missisauga.
The GTAA runs Toronto Pearson Airport, Canada’s largest aviation hub which typically sees around 50 million passengers a year.
Read the full story:
Lucy Thackray12 April 2022 14:50
Nearly three quarters of Brits holiday in same place every year, study suggests
Just under three quarters of Britons holiday in the same place year after year, new research suggests.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s survey of 2,000 British holidaymakers showed that 73 per cent have returned to the same hotel abroad several times, averaging four return visits.
More than a quarter said they liked seeing familiar faces on holiday, while 30 per cent said they enjoyed not having to plan very far ahead.
Some 58 per cent of respondents said they have not been abroad since the beginning of the pandemic.
Read the full story:
Lucy Thackray12 April 2022 14:28
EasyJet blames flight cancellations on DfT delays
Delays in processing security checks for new airline crew are increasing the number of flights being cancelled, according to the boss of easyJet.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said the airline is waiting for the Department for Transport (DfT) to give permission for around 100 new members of staff to start work.
EasyJet has cancelled hundreds of flights in recent days, mainly on routes serving Gatwick Airport in West Sussex.
Mr Lundgren explained this is primarily due to high levels of coronavirus-related staff absences but also blamed the time it is taking for the Government to vet new recruits.
He said: “There’s this delay of the clearance from the DfT for people to get their IDs.
“There’s a backlog there and we’re waiting currently for about 100 cabin crew to get their IDs.
“There’s a three-week delay on that. That has had an impact. If that would have been on time, we would have seen less cancellations.”
This demonstrates that the rise in coronavirus infections has “impacted basically the whole of the UK”, Mr Lundgren said.
He went on: “I understand the DfT and the ministers are doing what they can to accelerate and speed this up – which we find very constructive – but it definitely has had an impact.”
Travel in 2022: What does the rest of the year have in store?
Restrictions may have eased, but holidaymakers have faced travel chaos over the Easter break with flights cancelled and long airport queues due to Covid staff shortages. As we look forward to potential travel from the UK beyond Easter, The Independent’s resident experts will be on hand to help paint a picture of what holidays might look like for the rest of the year and beyond.
Will the travel chaos continue? Will the fuel crisis push up prices? How will Covid continue to affect how and where we go on holiday?
Join travel correspondent Simon Calder and travel editor Helen Coffey as they do their best to answer your burning questions and discuss how to get the most out of your holidays in 2022.
Both experts will be on hand to help at The Independent’s free virtual event held on Zoom on Wednesday 20 April at 6.30pm:
EasyJet is battling with sickness levels of 20 per cent, says chief executive
Britain’s biggest budget airline is seeing “crew absence driven by Covid up to 20 per cent”. its chief executive says.
Johan Lundgren chief executive of easyJet, said that as a result it is currently having to cancel 5 per cent of its flights each day.
In a media call Mr Lundgren said that passengers were usually told well in advance and were able to rebook on the same day.
He told The Independent that easyJet is committed to meet its obligations under air passengers’ rights rules.
When a flight is cancelled, travellers are entitled to be flown to their destination on the same day if it possible – even if that means buying a high-priced seat on a rival carrier.
In addition, if the cancellation is made less than two weeks ahead, the airline must pay hundreds of pounds in compensation.
The easyJet chief executive said that around 100 newly recruited staff are still waiting for security clearance.
Simon Calder12 April 2022 12:29
What is causing the airport queues and flight cancellations and how long will it last?
With the Easter weekend fast approaching, the UK’s international transport network is creaking badly.
Both British Airways and easyJet are cancelling dozens of flights every day – BA’s cancellations are short-haul operations from Heathrow, while easyJet’s main base, Gatwick, is seeing the highest number of axed departures for the airline.
Hundreds more cancellations of domestic and European flights are expected before and during the Easter weekend.
If your flight is going ahead, then there’s the airport to contend with. The managing director of Manchester airport has stepped down after weeks of extremely long queues for security at the UK’s third-busiest airport.
Read our guide to what’s going on over the Easter weekend:
Simon Calder12 April 2022 12:19
The science behind flight cancellations
How do easyJet and British Airways choose which flights to cancel from the hundreds that they operate each day? Simon Calder considers the parameters – and concludes that maximising happiness is not uppermost in the minds of the operations managers who decide whose flight will stay on the ground.
“You might like to think that these demi-gods have the omniscient ability to minimise pain,” he writes, “given that the average traveller to Venice probably enjoys the experience more than a passenger to Frankfurt.”
But, he writes, while focusing limited resources on maximising happiness is an attractive ambition – “these difficult days finance rather than philosophy wins out”.
The total revenue loss and compensation obligation are more pressing concerns.
Read the full story:
Flight cancelled? Your rights explained
Every day British Airways and easyJet are cancelling dozens of flights as they struggle with resourcing the flying programme they have sold. Departures to European holiday spots in the Mediterranean are particularly hard hit. But if your flight is grounded, the airline must get you to your destination on the same day if it possible – even if that means buying you a high-priced seat on a rival carrier In addition, if the cancellation is made less than two weeks ahead, the airline must pay you hundreds of pounds or euros in compensation.
Here are your rights if your flight is cancelled:
Simon Calder12 April 2022 09:57
All the easyJet and BA flights cancelled today
Another day brings dozens more cancelled flights to and from the UK. Passengers attempting to jet off on their Easter holidays are encountering widespread flight cancellations, at airports across the UK.
BA says passengers were given notice of a week or two of flight cancellations, due to resourcing issues.
British Airways has not made on-the-day cancellations.
See the full list of today’s cancellations here:
Helen Coffey12 April 2022 09:38
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog. We’ll be keeping you updated with all the latest news throughout the day.
Helen Coffey12 April 2022 09:32
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