Travellers have been warned to expect worsening disruption at UK airports over the Jubilee weekend as airlines struggle to cope with huge half-term holiday demand.
Airlines cancelled dozens of flights on Tuesday sparking huge delays and lengthy queues. Travellers complained of “long and snaking” queues, with some passengers waiting more than three hours to get through security at Gatwick Airport.
Some people were pictured lying on the floor at Stansted following the disruption. EasyJet announced it was cancelling at least 200 flights over the half-term holidays as it axed a further 42 flights to and from Gatwick on Tuesday.
BA, which has also axed flights, says the cancellations were made weeks ago and customers were given plenty of notice.
Tui told passengers on social media it is “doing everything to minimise disruption to our flying schedule”, adding that “the majority of our flights are operating with minimal disruption”. The operator said it will be cancelling at least six flights per day until June.
Meanwhile, Eurostar travellers have been forced to wait outside St Pancras station amid delays on the international line.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, has warned travellers face even more disruption in the coming days.
“Sadly, I think it will get worse because were reaching its peak in a few days,” Mr Charles told MailOnline.
“Monday 6 June is scheduled to be the busiest day since 2019, with 2,864 departures from the UK, and the same number of inbound flights - it will be the busiest day since before the pandemic.”
19:44 , Lily Waddell
Thank you for following our coverage today.
Rail union says preparations ongoing for ‘sustained’ strike
17:36 , Josh Salisbury
Rail union leaders have declined to announce strike dates in a move that would prompt further travel disruption.
Members of the RMT union voted overwhelmingly last week to take industrial action over jobs, pay and conditions, threatening the biggest disruption to services since the industry was privatised.
However, RMT leaders decided on Tuesday not to press ahead with strike dates after it was revealed that talks have been taking place since the ballot result.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the matter would be considered again by the union’s executive on June 7, “when we will consider how to develop our campaign, including the issue of setting dates for phases of industrial action.”
He added: "The union has the same position as it always has - to seek job security with a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies; that any changes to structures, working practices, or conditions have to be agreed with our union, not imposed; and that our members deserve a negotiated pay increase that addresses the rising cost of living.
"RMT will continue to make active preparations for a sustained campaign of industrial action while discussions continue."
Eurostar passengers complain of lengthy waits
16:52 , Josh Salisbury
Eurostar passengers were forced to wait in a lengthy queue outside St Pancras station on Tuesday, with some reporting waits of up to three hours.
Author Svenja O'Donnell, who was among the passengers in the queue, told the PA news agency she had been waiting in the line for nearly three hours for a train to Paris.
She said: “The queue is through the whole station and down two blocks. We have been given very little information.
She advised other passenger to “stay home" to avoid the “absolute chaos".
Another Eurostar customer described the situation as a “total shambles", adding: “Thousands of people, queues snaking around the station, out into the street and back in again. Shocking mismanagement."
One traveller complained about “waiting outside in the rain" and there being “no clear signs and explanation".
In response to a tweet from one passenger, Eurostar wrote: “We're very sorry for the delay to your journey. We had a technical fault on a train earlier this morning which meant we had to take it out of service.
"As a consequence, there are delays of 30-60 minutes on departure and we're doing all we can to get you moving."
Consumer group hits out at ‘blame game’ as travel chaos continues
16:27 , Sami Quadri
The “blame game” over flight disruption ahead of the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday is “no help” to passengers, a consumer group has warned.
Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “The blame game over staff shortages and flight cancellations is no help at all to passengers, who need instant action to bring an end to the airport chaos that is causing so much misery and leaving many people out of pocket, with little hope of getting all their money back.
“The Government and regulators must take their share of responsibility for creating a situation where airlines feel empowered to treat passengers poorly and ignore their legal obligations to put passengers on alternative flights to their destinations, with other carriers if necessary.
“Enforcing this rule would help thousands of passengers immediately.”
Passengers told Vueling flight took off ’empty’ because of delays at Gatwick
15:43 , Sami Quadri
Passengers booked on a Vueling flight from Gatwick were told the plane departed empty because of delays at the West Sussex airport.
Flight VY6209 was due to take off for the Italian city of Florence at 8.20pm on Monday.
But the Airbus A319 – which can carry up to 144 passengers – left nearly two hours late with no-one on board for the 734-mile flight.
Nisha Gupta, 32, from Windsor, Berkshire, was booked on the flight with her husband Ash.
She said they were forced to queue for more than four hours to check in luggage, but when they arrived at the departure gate they were informed no passengers could board the plane due to a staff shortage.
She added: “Eventually we were told by staff that the pilots made a decision to fly the plane back empty without a single passenger onboard due to Florence airspace closing.
“The environmental impact of this is insane and a decision was clearly made to prioritise cost implications over customer experience and environmental impact.
“Throughout this entire experience, there was a maximum of three staff members dealing with all Vueling flights that day.
“We got to the airport at 3pm and did not leave until 2am after having to wait around to give details to the one staff member dealing with all cancelled flights, taking details and trying to book people into hotels.
“No food or drinks were provided at all. Neither were any meal vouchers as per customer rights in the instance of a delay.”
Passengers ‘left in dark’ over flight cancellations in 3 hour long queues
14:59 , Barney Davis
Ryan Westman was hoping to get to Florence with his wife on a Veuling flight but days later he is still stuck in London phoning up automated lines looking for a refund.
He told the Standard: “It was absolutely awful, and I feel for everyone who was impacted by it. Some people missed weddings, family gatherings, and just well earned vacation time.
“They had one person for priority checking people in and only one person for the entire queue of standard passengers which was at one point about 300 people long.
“Without a doubt they set those two people up to fail and endure harassment because the company failed to support them properly. They had one person handing out water to everyone around 9pm, that’s it.”
He added: “After the flight was canceled there was only one person to help us figure out what would happen next.
“ As Vueling closed at 10pm, people were getting rebooked on flights at random. If you wanted a hotel, we were told it was in an unknown part of the city and you had to accept the rebooking from Vueling which may or may not go to your original destination on no particular date.
“Now there is just blanket statements and responses on twitter about how their ground crew is ‘trying their best’.
“Now it’s impossible to get anyone on the phone to rebook as it is completely automated.”
Customers tell of ‘chaos’ following queues at Heathrow
14:16 , Sami Quadri
Would-be travellers have labelled queues at Heathrow “bloody chaos” as the airport attempts to process passengers in time for their flights.
With the escalator for departures in Terminal Two closed to limit crowds, holidaymakers were directed to take a lift from the arrivals floor instead.
“I think we’re just about full, folks,” one staff member said as several people forced their way into the lift.
One man, squashed in a corner, complained “It’s bloody chaos”, which prompted the response: “Try working here”.
In a bid to expedite queues in Terminal Three, “Heathrow Helpers” handed out clear plastic bags so travellers could pack their liquids before reaching the security desk.
A woman joining one of the lines said: “I have never seen it like this”.
‘Gigantic’ queues reported at Heathrow Terminal 5
14:12 , Sami Quadri
Utter shambles at Terminal 5 Heathrow. No bag drop for Iberia which they don’t tell you online. Half an hour’s queue and not enough counters. Gigantic queue for security. Absolutely scandalous and total contempt for passengers. But hey as long as they can sell you cheap booze… pic.twitter.com/t6PIjarHyI
— Daphne Romney QC (@DaphneRomneyQC) May 31, 2022
Airports ‘short on numbers’
14:06 , Sami Quadri
Tim Jeans, director of Cornwall Airport Newquay, said airlines and airports “have been short of the numbers of people they need”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “When I used to run Monarch Airlines I always said you must never let the problem get to the airport. You know there’s a problem coming, you know if you can’t crew flights, you know if you don’t have the resources.
“To let people get to an airport and then say I’m sorry we can’t deal with it, is – not ideal, so no we’ve got to plan, we’ve got to plan better, resource better and basically make sure that these kind of things which are putting people off travel do not reoccur throughout the summer.”
He added: “Well it’s going to be a while before they get better, let me say that, there’s no point in being unrealistic. It won’t be I think as bad as this peak weekend, this very, very busy Jubilee weekend, but (yes), I unfortunately see things happening through the summer.”
List of cancelled easyJet flights to and from Gatwick on Tuesday
13:59 , Sami Quadri
Morning queues ease at Dublin Airport
13:47 , Sami Quadri
7:45am Good news for @Ryanair passengers at T1 (at the moment), bag drop and check in areas are flowing nicely (“a much better day today” says one staff member). That’s before you get to security however #DublinAirport https://t.co/ooi0GLce75 pic.twitter.com/A5I8mMtPCZ
— Stephen Murphy (@SMurphyTV) May 31, 2022
Surge in demand for ferries following airport chaos
13:23 , Sami Quadri
Ferry companies have reported a surge in demand from Brits looking for alternative travel arrangements as airports and airlines struggle to deal with the half-term travel spike.
Direct Ferries, the largest ferry ticket booking site in the world, has seen a 37 per cent increase in UK searches for outbound ferry travel in May 2022 compared to the same time period in 2019.
Niall Walsh, COO at Direct Ferries said: “The ongoing disruption at UK airports for travellers, with many flights being delayed or cancelled due to staff shortages, as well as the soaring costs of car hire for holidaymakers due to lack of available vehicles has meant that many travellers are now choosing to travel to popular European destinations by ferry.
“Dover Calais ferry searches are up 60 per cent, Portsmouth Caen ferry searches are up 20 per cent and Portsmouth Santander ferry searches are up 28 per cent compared to 2019. We expect this trend to continue as there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel for many flight operators this holiday season.”
Woman tells of ‘heartbreak’ after missing flight to see mother in Bilbao
13:12 , Sami Quadri
Jaeeun Mott and her 9-year-old son Alfie were travelling to visit her mother – who she had not seen for almost three years due to the pandemic - in Bilbao.
But she was left “heartbroken” after missing her Vueling flight due to the long queues at check in.
She said: “We had a 7.40pm flight at Gatwick. I left work and picked up my son and we rushed to the airport.
“We arrived on the earlier train. We arrived 2 hours and 40 minutes before our flight. Then I saw the queue and thought ‘this is mental’…there was a huge line snaking around and growing so fast. I told my son not to panic – all we could do is queue and hope for the best.
“The queue was so long and going so slow. There was only two people processing the check-ins.
“Nobody was asking who is going where, which is strange as you’d expect them to prioritise people who have earlier flights at check in.
“…suddenly there was only one person on the check in and in my estimation thousands of people at the check in.”
She said her son, who suffers from autism, was becoming increasingly nervous and had a “meltdown”.
“This journey was to see my mum…we haven’t seen her for three years due to the pandemic.”
Jaeeun said she received a refund for the departing flight but has been unable to get her money back for the £560 return flights from Vueling.
Airlines insist they only had ‘weeks’ to prepare for summer getaways
12:50 , Josh Salisbury
The body representing airlines has said they only had “weeks” to prepare for travellers seeking summer getaways amid choatic scenes at many UK airports.
Airlines UK said: “We are 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.
“Despite this, and without the ability to know when restrictions would be completely removed or predict how much flying would be possible over the summer, the vast majority of the many tens of thousands of UK-departing flights a week will be operating as scheduled.
“The focus now should be on our customers with airports, airlines and Government working together in the best interests of Britons to ensure they get away over the summer.”
Long queues for baggage reported amid widespread travel disruption
12:37 , Josh Salisbury
Passengers have reported long waits for their bags or even that they have gone missing amid widespread travel chaos.
— Tony Brown (@tonyprod77) May 31, 2022
Just heard from a passenger whose bag has been lost including their house keys.
If you can, at the moment, try not to to check a bag. Lots are going missing. If you are checking a bag, make sure medication, keys, insurance documents and a change of clothes are in your carry on
— Rory Boland 🇺🇦 (@roryboland) May 31, 2022
Travel will chaos ‘will get worse’ with Monday ‘busiest day since pre-pandemic'
12:18 , Josh Salisbury
Travellers are being warned to brace themselves for yet more chaos, with Monday expected to be the busiest day.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline: “Sadly, I think it will get worse because were reaching its peak in a few days.
“Monday 6 June scheduled to be the busiest day since 2019, with 2,864 departures from the UK, and the same number of inbound flights - it will be the busiest day since before the pandemic.”
He added that he did not think the issue was for the Government to solve.
“It's for travel firms themselves to get themselves in order,” he said.
“It might mean sadly diverting money due to go into investment, or earmarked for new aircraft or into better check-in facilities to instead go towards hiring more staff. They've got some tough decisions to make.”
Heathrow passengers: ‘We’ve never seen queues so long'
12:11 , Josh Salisbury
Passengers at Heathrow said Tuesday they had never seen queues so long for security.
Queues for the security desks at Terminal Three repeatedly looped back along themselves, with one woman joking to a friend: “Shall I time it? Dare we?”
A US couple, who regularly fly over to visit their children, had stood for half an hour in one of the queues and expected to wait at least another hour.
“We’ve never had this experience before,” the woman, who declined to give her name, told the PA news agency.
Asked if Heathrow’s management was handling the situation well, she answered: “No, but that’s typical here in the UK.”
In a bid to limit queues, most passengers were forced to cross to the far end of the terminal and funnelled up a single escalator.
Tiu Airways announces fresh cancellations
12:03 , Josh Salisbury
Tui Airways will cancel six flights per day at Manchester Airport until the end of June in the latest cancellations announced by an operator.
The airline said in a statement that it apologised to customers for flight disruption in recent days, adding that the May half-term holidays were always an exceptionally busy period.
“Unfortunately, due to ongoing challenges in our operation, we have had to announce a small number of planned cancellations between now and 30 June from Manchester Airport only,” it said.
“We are directly contacting all impacted customers in departure date order and they will automatically receive a full refund.
“We can reassure our customers that the remainder of our flying programme is expected to operate as planned. We'd like to apologise again for the inconvenience caused and we thank customers for their understanding and patience during this time.”
Up to operators to plan for numbers of people flying, says Transport minister
11:57 , Josh Salisbury
Transport minister, Andrew Stephenson, has insisted the Government is working with airports to minimise disruption, but said it is up to operators to ensure they have enough staff.
“We are working with aviation sector in order to ensure that the queues we have seen at the airports are minimised and that disruption is minimised," he told Sky News.
“It is for the airports to plan and recruit enough people in order to deal with the significant increases in people flying which we have been expecting for some time.
“We have used are Brexit freedoms in order to ensure that things like security clearances can be done quicker and some of the training can actually begin before full security clearance is granted.
“I hope that the disruption that we are seeing is short term.
“We want to get people back flying again."
Eurostar says queues are due to a ‘small backlog’ of customers
11:46 , Sami Quadri
Eurostar has said there is a “small backlog” of customers waiting at St Pancras following a technical fault.
A spokesperson said: “There was a technical fault with one of our sets earlier, which put it out of service. As such, unfortunately, that particular service left London over an hour late.
“There has since been a small backlog of trains since then delayed by around 30 minutes but otherwise we would expect this to clear shortly.”
Unite general secretary says aviation companies ‘should hang their heads in shame'
11:14 , Sami Quadri
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said those in charge of UK aviation companies “should hang their heads in shame”.
He went on: “They got very rich on high profits and low pay. They then sacked and slashed wages for thousands of workers without a second thought during the pandemic. Now they are reaping what they have sown because, understandably, people don’t want to work for them anymore.”
Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of the Prospect union, said there are “staff shortages across the industry” and a “huge reliance on overtime to get by day to day”.
He went on: “In many areas, like air traffic control, overtime is only a temporary sticking plaster.
“So, things could get worse this summer before they get better.”
Government says aviation industry needs to ramp up recruitment
11:12 , Sami Quadri
A Government spokeswoman said airports are “busier than usual” due to “an exceptionally high number of people travelling” this week.
She continued: “The aviation industry is responsible for making sure they have enough staff to meet demand and we have been clear that they must step up recruitment to make sure disruption is kept to a minimum.
“In addition, using our post-Brexit freedoms, we have changed the law to provide the sector with more flexibility when training new employees, which will help it to fill vacancies more quickly.
“We have also worked with Border Force to ensure preparations meet passenger demand.”
Eurostar delays: Queues stretch out of St Pancras as holidaymakers face travel meltdown
10:57 , Sami Quadri
— Edwin Smith (@EdwinSmith) May 31, 2022
easyJet cancels 42 flights on Tuesday
10:51 , Sami Quadri
EasyJet has axed 42 flights on Tuesday to and from Gatwick.
The budget airline gave two days’ warning to most of the estimated 6,000 passengers affected. However, there have been additional “on-the-day” cancellations, starting with its 6.15am departure to Belfast City airport.
Among the previously announced cancellations are links with key holiday destinations including Venice, Biarritz and Marrakech.
Travellers stuck in long queues at Gatwick on Tuesday morning
10:47 , Sami Quadri
10:09 , Barney Davis
Peter Valentine, 63, is taking his family to St Lucia for a half term break.
He said: “There are 8 desks there with noone behind them.
“They asked us to check in but what’s the point? The online desks somehow aren’t open because it’s not peak time.
“I dread to think what it will be like when it’s busier later on in Summer. There are a lot of disappointed passengers.
“The flight is delayed aswell for two hours which in a way is lucky we have time to queue.
“If they don’t have the facilities available they should offer a discount to passengers.
“If airlines offered a decent wage you get decent people who care about passengers applying for it. Otherwise people see it just as a job and this happens.”
09:58 , Sami Quadri
Ian Hall, 51, is travelling to Rome for three days with his wife and kids.
He said: “It’s ridiculous.
“There must have been 700 people in the queue with two people checking them in.
“There has been to be more staff. I don’t feel sorry for them at all, we can’t have breakfast and it’s really stressful.
“The system is not working. I’ve flown so much for business over the years and never had to deal with anything like this.”
Huge queues in Gatwick’s North Terminal on Tuesday morning
09:44 , Sami Quadri
Gatwick Airport insists queues are ‘normal for this time of year’
09:29 , Sami Quadri
Gatwick Airport is insisting on social media that its queues are “normal for this time of year” and are being “managed well”.
However, several passengers have taken to Twitter on Tuesday morning to complain of long wait times.
Jackie Wilkes wrote shortly after 8.30am: “Having got through the hour long queue just to drop off our bags, now facing nearly a 6 hour wait for our flight. What a s**t show.”
Labour MP criticises government for failing to prepare for travel spike
09:20 , Sami Quadri
Shadow financial secretary to the Treasury James Murray argued that the “Government didn’t step up and now people are seeing the impact of that as people’s holidays are impacted”.
The Labour MP told Sky News: “It felt fairly obvious what was happening during the pandemic in that people were not travelling, were not flying throughout the pandemic, but then, once the pandemic starts to recede, air travel would start to pick up again and the Government simply didn’t do what was necessary during the pandemic to get ready for what’s happening now, and now we’re seeing the impact of it.”
He added: “The other aspect of this as well, and not to forget, is all of the chaos in terms of passports and the fact that that was predictable as well… It’s something where a bit of common sense, a bit of planning… if the Government had had their mind focused on what was coming they could have prepared for this.”
British tourists facing long queues at Spanish airports
09:17 , Sami Quadri
British holidaymakers are also facing long queues when they touch down in Spain, according to reports.
Weary tourists arriving at Majorca Airport are taking an average of nearly three hours after landing to reach the coaches waiting to take them to their hotels, it is being claimed.
The problems have been blamed mainly on a lack of police at passport control, especially on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays when most of the flights bringing in package holidaymakers land in Majorca.
You can read more on the situation here.
Checking in at Gatwick was like ‘hell on wheels’, says woman
09:08 , Barney Davis
Student Isabelle Gray, 27, said the experience of checking in at Gatwick was “hell on wheels”.
She said: “I arrived here just after 5am and queued for almost 2 hours to check my bag in, the queue was about 500 deep and there was one person at the check in desk.
“This is the first time I’ve been away since before the pandemic and I’ve never experienced queues like this. There’s not been an explanation for it.
“In the check in queue I could hear a lot of people around me starting to get stressed as there were several different flights in one queue.
“Some people next to me were thinking of putting their suitcase in a locker and running to the gate with just hand luggage.”She added: “It definitely feels understaffed, the check in desk was the slowest part and there didn’t seem to be a lot of staff around, it was just very chaotic.”
Travel chief slams airlines and airports over ‘mismanagement’
09:06 , Sami Quadri
The chief executive of the Airline Management Group has said it is no surprise that travel demand increased around the Jubilee bank holiday.
Peter Davies told LBC: “Well, in the airline industry we often refer to Swiss cheese, and whether the holes line up, and often there are many holes to line up.
“On this occasion there’s only two or three.
“It’s down to mismanagement, in my opinion, between the airlines and the airports.
“I think it’s natural for people to go away on holiday. It’s not a surprise that hotter weeks tend to be particularly busy – particularly in Jubilee week – and the fact we’ve been cooped up for a couple of years.
“So there was no surprise there that people would flock back and fly. Indeed, the bookings have been increasing for many months now. So it comes as no surprise.”
Woman left disappointed as flight to visit sick father in Belfast is cancelled
09:03 , Sami Quadri
Siobhan Lowey, 42, was trying to get to Belfast to visit her father who is seriously ill in hospital.
She received a text message from easyJet cancelling her flight on her way to Gatwick.
She said: “My Dad is very poorly I was flying over to be in the hospital with him.
“Time is very precious as he doesn’t have long.
“I had to tell him the flight was cancelled. He’s very upset and was just asking when will I be able to come over.”
She added: “I am very upset and annoyed. They should be honest and up front and give a reason to why they are cancelling.
“They should also be offering alternative flights with them or another airline.
“I’m not sure what to do now. I don’t want to risk rebooking with easyJet and the same thing happening. But flights will go up.
“The amount of messages easyJet send. Get to the airport early as it’s busy at security.
“Your flight is delayed and then an hour later your flight is cancelled.”
Shadow financial secretary says government failed to prepare for rising travel demand
08:57 , Sami Quadri
Shadow financial secretary to the Treasury James Murray argued that the “Government hasn’t prepared” for the rise in demand for travel.
The Labour MP told Sky News: “We’ve been warning for months throughout the Covid pandemic that you can’t just let the airline industry and airports fall over, let them shed all of their staff, and then expect to get back on track when demand comes back after the pandemic.
“We were warning about this, trade unions were warning about this, employee representatives were saying throughout the Covid pandemic ‘You need a sector-specific package to support the aviation sector’, and now we’re seeing what’s happened because the Government hasn’t prepared for what would obviously come next.”
He added: “The Government was not working with the airlines to get that sector-specific package in place during the pandemic.”
The aviation sector is reluctant to “gear up” for thousands of people arriving
08:55 , Sami Quadri
The aviation sector is reluctant to “gear up” for thousands of people arriving because of the increased costs, the chief executive of the Airline Management Group has said.
Asked what the industry can do to cope with demand, Peter Davies told LBC: “Well, they have to gear up as quickly as possible in terms of staff, particularly through the airports with security.”
However, he said they are often reluctant to do so.
“I arrived back in the UK a couple of weeks ago at Terminal 2 at Heathrow and had to wait 56 minutes to get through the electronic pass gates,” he said.
“It was a snake, which is a good way of moving people around.
“It was moving, but the issue was of course that, once you’ve got to the electronic gates, very few people are being turned away, perhaps 10% because their passport was wrong or something, but all the gates there were open.
“It wasn’t as if you only had two or three – you had, I think, about 20 gates.
“So, when you’ve got thousands of people arriving at Heathrow at seven o’clock in the morning, and that’s been happening for years, where you got a lot of people arriving on overnight flights, then you should gear yourself up to make sure you can handle those people.
“But of course that costs money and it costs space, and people are reluctant often to do that.”
Team GB athlete disappointed after easyJet flight to Montenegro cancelled
08:52 , Sami Quadri
The British Para Table Tennis team had their easyJet flight to Montenegro cancelled after an overnight 6 hour coach to Gatwick.
Team GB Thomas Matthews, 27, was amongst 22 players who had just learned about the cancellation.
“The coaches are trying to sort it out for us they are more stressed than us.
“But it’s a very important tournament for some of our players we have to qualify for the world championships.“It’s not ideal preparation to be honest. If we get there it will be a great tournament for us.
“I would just like the flight to be not cancelled. We will have to get there somehow. Just please let us get there.
“We stayed in a hotel overnight to get here on time then this happens.”
Minister condemns aviation sector over recruitment
08:37 , Sami Quadri
Arts minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said the “industry should have been recruiting people ready”.
Asked if Government could have done more to help the aviation sector during the pandemic, he told Sky News: “We’ve been helping people across the whole economy with support for jobs, but of course the pandemic hit lots of sectors in lots of different ways.
“There was a period when people just simply weren’t able to travel for obvious reasons, but there’s been many months where we’ve been back on track, particularly since the vaccination to this moment and the industry should have been recruiting people ready.
“The companies should have had the people in place and we’re working with colleagues in the Department for Transport to make sure that they can get people in as swiftly as possible.”
He added: “We need clear communication from the companies to the people that are travelling, and colleagues at the Department for Transport are working with the industry to make sure they’re getting people in as swiftly as they can.”
Government criticises airports and airlines over travel fiasco
08:32 , Sami Quadri
Airports and airlines have been blamed for severely slashing staff roles amid the pandemic, as holidaymakers face lengthy queues and disruption.
A government source has told The Times that delays and flight cancellations are “completely unacceptable” as travellers have been warned to expect more chaos ahead of the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday.
“The simple fact is that airlines and airports overcut staff during the pandemic, ignoring the fact that the billions of pounds of aid — including furlough — handed out by the government was meant to protect those very jobs,” the source told the newspaper.
“Operators are now struggling to meet increasingly busy schedules as we move towards the first Covid-free summer since 2019 — a wholly foreseeable surge in bookings that should have been adequately prepared for,” they added.
More than 10,000 flights departing on Jubilee weekend
08:25 , Sami Quadri
UK airports will continue to face huge demand with more than 10,000 flights departing between Thursday and Sunday, according to aviation data firm Cirium.
That is a three-fold increase on the same period last year, when the UK’s coronavirus travel restrictions remained in place.
Drivers warned to expect delays as 19.5m Jubilee getaway trips planned
08:24 , Sami Quadri
Drivers are being warned to expect long delays on popular routes during the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday period as nearly 20 million getaway journeys are planned.
The RAC estimated that 19.5 million leisure trips by road will take place between Wednesday and Sunday.
A survey of 1,460 drivers’ travel plans indicated that Friday is likely to be the most congested day on the roads as day-trippers combine with families returning home from half-term breaks.
Traffic information supplier Inrix advised drivers to set off either before 6am or after 3pm to avoid the worst of the traffic.
Minister calls airport delays and flight cancellations ‘distressing’
08:21 , Sami Quadri
Minister for Arts Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay acknowledged cancelled flights and long queues at UK airports were “causing a lot of distress for people particularly in half-term”.
Asked about Government action over the airport disruption, he told Sky News: “Colleagues in the Department for Transport are working with the industry, we have been for months urging them to make sure they’ve got enough staff so that thanks to the success of the vaccine rollout, as people are able to travel again, that people can take the holidays that they’ve missed and that they’ve deserved and of course it’s causing a lot of distress for people particularly in half-term, people with family and children with them.
“It’s very distressing if you turn up at the airport and your flight isn’t ready, so we’ve been saying to the industry that they need to prepare for this, they need to have the staff that they need to make sure people can get away and enjoy holidays.”
He added: “We’ve been using some of our post-Brexit freedoms to make sure that people can be hired more quickly, but this is something the industry, some of the regulations can be met, but be met speedily, but we’ve been saying to the industry for quite some time, they should have been preparing for this.”