UK 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.
Sharon Graham, Head of the Country’s biggest trade union, Unite, said on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, that “The UK’s airports are in crisis because thousands of jobs have been slashed”.
The airline industry is one of the hardest-hit sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic, as flights were grounded by lockdowns and travel restrictions with some carriers and airports also laying off thousands of employees. But Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, accused airlines of a “lack of preparation” in the run-up to the holiday surge, especially now that restrictions were lifted. In an interview with the media, he said “Throughout the pandemic, the government provided £8 billion ($10 billion, 9.3 billion euros) of support”.
“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.”Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab
Thursday, June 2, 2022, and Friday, June 3, 2022, are public holidays in Britain as part of four days of celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Airlines for Europe, which represents EU airlines have predicted that the problem would continue “for a good chunk of the summer season”.
Justifying the Difficulties
In response, the industry organisation representing UK-registered carriers, Airlines UK, said the sector is still recovering 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.”Airlines UK
As a result, the group called for a collaborative effort between airports, airlines and the government to ensure flights take off.
Increasing Number of Travellers
Manchester Airport in Northwest England is seeing increasing numbers of disgruntled travellers complaining about long waits to go through security or to collect their luggage. Some also missed their flights altogether, if they were not cancelled.
One passenger posted a photo on Twitter at about 4:00 am (03:00 GMT) on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, showing a queue stretching out of the terminal. The post read: “Carnage once again this morning (4am) at @manairport T1… I haven’t even made it in the building this time around!” In response, the airport said, “We are aware of challenges being faced by a number of airlines and handling agents, which is leading to delays at check-in and baggage reclaim for some passengers”.
A Challenging Moment
Susannah Streeter, an Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said mass flight cancellations are expected to increase, further heaping pressure on airlines.
“Pent up demand is colliding with a severe labour crunch for the industry as companies struggle to recruit workers for key ground roles in particular, following mass pandemic lay-offs”.Susannah Streeter, an Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown