Flights continue to be cancelled while ferry operators struggle to meet demand
More flights were cancelled on Saturday, with British Airways grounding at least 72 flights and easyJet grounding 5.
Ferry operators are also struggling to meet demand after P&O Ferries suspended its services after sacking nearly 800 staff. However, the operator said earlier this week that it is preparing to restart sailings “from this weekend”.
Heathrow, Manchester and Leeds airports have advised travellers to arrive at least three hours before their scheduled departure times to mitigate long waiting times through security and ensure they don’t miss their flights.
The Civil Aviation Authority wrote to airports and airlines on Friday to express concern over the disruption, warning that last-minute cancellations and “excessive” delays could impact consumer confidence negatively.
The letter, written by Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the aviation watchdog, read: “Given the consequences for passengers of cancelled and disrupted journeys I encourage you to do all you can to ensure that you have the necessary level of appropriately trained and cleared staff resources in place.”
The aviation industry is struggling with staff shortages after cutting thousands of jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Difficulties in recruiting new staff and increasing absences due to coronavirus-related staff sickness has resulted in a severe lack of workers, adding to the disruption.
Labour has urged the government to intervene, with shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh calling on ministers to prioritise staff at Manchester and other major airports for Home Office security checks so they can start work as soon as possible.
She accused the government of “missing in action”, adding: “Tory ministers need to step-up and act to ease the disruption. The government need to begin clearing the huge backlogs in security checks so airport staff can safely begin work.”
Haigh also urged ministers to engage in emergency talks with ferry operators and Eurotunnel to increase capacity following the suspension of services by P&O.
Additional reporting by PA
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