They said many will see flights rescheduled or even cancelled. John Grant, chief analyst at OAG, the world’s leading provider of digital flight information and intelligence, said: “Sadly, the problems we see today are with us for the summer.
“Airlines have made capacity adjustments and airports are limiting the number of passengers.”
“The situation will get marginally better, but if we really want to see a return to the very few issues faced [pre-Covid] in 2019 then be prepared to pay more.”
Airports have been hamstrung by a lack of properly trained staff able to cope with demand, leading to huge queues at check-in and security, such as those seen at Manchester yesterday. There have been air traffic control restrictions and strikes to cope with too.
Services have been slashed by British Airways on what it calls “multi-frequency routes”, such as Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt, and Madrid, in a bid to get families to popular holiday destinations.
Some families have abandoned foreign summer holiday plans and are booking a staycation instead, with a rush on UK accommodation expected in the next week.
The Daily Express asked major airports and carriers why the situation had rapidly deteriorated and what steps are being taken to ensure holidays go ahead. The responses are published below.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said:
“The legacy of Covid continues to pose challenges for the entire sector as it rebuilds capacity. There are some critical functions in the airport which are still significantly under-resourced, in particular ground handlers, contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and turn around aircraft.”
“Over the past few weeks, as departing passenger numbers have regularly exceeded 100,000 a day, we have started to see periods when service drops to a level that is not acceptable.”
OAG’s John Grant said: “The industry has for too many years sold airfares too cheaply and not paid staff the salaries that encourage them to stay.”
COMMENT BY JOHN GRANT
What went so badly wrong in the aviation industry to leave it in this state?
It got minimal protection from the Government after Covid hit. Redundancies followed. The Government then opened and closed the UK to overseas travellers several times, frustrating any attempts by the industry to restart.
But, ultimately, the crux of the issue is the industry has for too many years sold airfares too cheaply and not paid staff the salaries that encourage them to stay.
- John Grant, Chief Analyst, OAG