Airports have experienced huge queues as they struggle to cope with soaring demand and now there’s more travel chaos on Saturday, which is expected to be the busiest day of the year
Image: Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP)
British holidaymakers hoping for a break in the sun face horror snakes at airports on this Saturday, which is expected to be the busiest day of the year so far.
Stories of passengers waiting in queues around terminals for hours and missed flights have made headlines in recent weeks as airports struggle to cope with people going on holiday as Covid restrictions are lifted.
This Saturday marks the start of the Easter rush and many holidaymakers are worried about catching their flights.
Airports have instructed travelers to check with their airline for flight departure times and airport arrival times.
More than 1,000 flights to the UK have been canceled in recent days and people are being warned more will be cancelled.
Police are being called in at Manchester Airport to help, as well as more temporary staff to meet demand.
Chief Constable Stephen Watson has said they would “increase our presence just to make sure people take the situation calmly”.
GMP has already been used at the ailing international airport to help with security.
The Chief Constable also clarified that he would not have so many officers at the airport that other areas of Greater Manchester would suffer.
He told that Manchester evening news : “We have already deployed additional police officers, of course at the weekend.
“Obviously you wouldn’t expect cops to do duties like baggage handling and there’s no prospect of that because we weren’t asked to.
“The problem is that there are a number of problems at the airport. We have a lot of people standing in very long lines through no fault of their own and sometimes a little frustration sets in. And so we increased our presence, just to make sure people take the situation calmly.
“I know that between us, surely the airport authorities, the mayor and all sorts of people are acting in good faith to try to resolve these issues. But we are an important partner in supporting the security element [of] what’s happening at the airport and we’re ready to step in and do whatever it takes to get over that hump.”
He added: “The whole point here is that we’re trying to be helpful as we get over this type of post-Covid hump that’s currently plaguing the airport like many other organizations.”
Yesterday Karen Smart – chief executive of Manchester Airports Group – left her post to “pursue new career opportunities.
In a statement criticizing Manchester Airport for being late on recruitment, poor communication with passengers and queue management, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has announced measures to ease the ongoing crisis.
He also warned that the “disruption”, mainly caused by staff shortages, is expected to last “two months”.
According to aeronautical data company Cirium, 1,143 flights were canceled in the UK last week, compared with just 197 for the same period in 2019.
The vast majority of cancellations over the last week have come from easyJet and British Airways. The absentee rate of staff at easyJet is about double the normal and around 60 of the flights scheduled for last Tuesday have been cancelled.
BA canceled at least 98 flights to or from Heathrow on Tuesday, with that number including routes suspended for several months because of the pandemic, such as those to some Asian destinations.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “This is a staggering number of flight cancellations caused by a cocktail of understaffing and Covid-induced staff shortages.
“Airlines certainly see high demand for flights but are simply unable to meet that demand due to a lack of resources. It’s a nightmare situation for airlines and airports right now.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/easter-holidaymakers-face-travel-hell-26653830 Easter holidaymakers face “travel hell” at airports on Saturday as police intervene