Travelers in the UK should continue to expect long waits and last-minute changes to their plans over the next few days.
In an interview with Sky News on Tuesday, a representative of the British government, Secretary of State Stephen Parkinson, blamed the companies for the chaos of the past few days, when queues formed at several English airports to get out and many trips were cancelled. “We’ve told the industry that they need to prepare and hire enough people so that people can travel and enjoy their vacations,” Parkinson said. Companies should have hired more employees.
According to the Guardian, many of the delays or short-term cancellations of flights are actually due to staff shortages. Several companies – such as Manchester Airport – hired hundreds of new employees after the peak of the pandemic, some of whom still have to go through training and safety checks and are therefore not yet operational.
A representative from the GMB union told the BBC it is now almost impossible to find staff in the industry. Many have migrated to other areas in the course of the pandemic. Industry expert Alex Macheras predicted a “summer of chaos” on Twitter, and several British newspapers also dedicated their front pages to the turbulence on Tuesday.
The chaos is expected to continue in the coming days as celebrations for the Queen’s jubilee begin in the UK on Thursday and a long weekend for most Britons. Also, there are school holidays in England this week. The low-cost airline Easyjet canceled more than 200 flights by June 6, and the travel company Tui also canceled several trips at short notice.