TUI has canceled more flights over the next month as a union warned problems at UK airports ‘could get worse this summer before they get better’.
The German airline apologized for the disruption over the past few days and said that “due to the continuing difficulties” a “small number” of additional flights from Manchester Airport would be canceled by June 30th.
Passengers hoping to get away for the midterm and Platinum Jubilee weekend faced cancellations and long delays at airports this week.
Travel industry had months to prepare for mid-term rush, minister says
EasyJet and British Airways are canceling flights every day and passengers at airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol and Dublin are facing long delays due to staff shortages after thousands were made redundant during the pandemic.
The Prospect union, which represents thousands of air traffic control, airport and aeronautical engineering workers, said things could get worse before they get better.
Garry Graham, its deputy general secretary, said: “Unions have repeatedly warned the government and aviation employers that downsizing during the crisis will lead to problems with the post-pandemic ramp-up.
“The government highlights the furlough scheme but ignores that it ended long before the end of the majority of international travel restrictions.
“Now we are seeing staffing shortages across the industry, with a huge reliance on overtime to get by on a day-to-day basis.
“In many areas, like air traffic control, overtime is just a temporary band-aid. So things could get worse this summer before they get better.”
Ministers blamed airports and airlines, saying the Department for Transport had been telling them for months that they needed to prepare for the mid-term rush and hire more staff.
Cancellations after passengers arrive at the airport
Liz Thompson’s TUI flight to Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, was canceled on Tuesday morning after arriving at Manchester Airport at 3am for a 6.20am flight.
She told Sky News: “We waited in line for so long, it didn’t say canceled at first, then we saw the screen again and it said cancelled.
“We went to ask one of the TUI operators and they just said ‘yes, all holidays are cancelled’ and that’s all we knew about it and we’re still in the dark now.”
Simon Crewdson’s flight to Antalya, Turkey was delayed for seven hours on Monday. He and his family therefore had to return to Manchester Airport on Tuesday to catch another flight.
He told Sky News: “We kind of thought it [the flight] it wasn’t going to happen but we waited and then finally they said ‘oh go down to the gate’ and then they said ‘oh it’s cancelled, can you go to the hotel?’
“We just had to check in again. I think they knew ages before [they cancelled] I think it was just a delaying tactic
“I think they were fully aware the flight wasn’t going to last long before they told us.”
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