today is Oct 06, 2022

17th June 2022

That’s the claim from the boss of Heathrow airport as flights continue to be cancelled with some passengers experiencing long delays. The Government has urged action from the travel industry but is criticised for offering little practical support. NEW

The CEO of Heathrow airport, John Holland-Kaye, has said large-scale cancellations and delays could last for another 18 months.

“I think it will take 12 to 18 months for the aviation sector to fully recover capacity, so we will have to really carefully manage supply and demand,” Holland-Kay said at the Financial Times’ Global Boardroom conference earlier this month.

He wants the government to make it easier to recruit staff with security background checks speeded up.

Action has already been taken over the summer with Gatwick Airport forced to reduce the number of flights during the peak summer period due to staff shortages.

The number of daily flights is to be reduced to 825 in July and 850 in August – down from 900 in past years.

Gatwick airport. Image © PlanetSKI

Gatwick airport. Image © PlanetSKI

This week the government and regulators have told the airlines their summer timetables must be “deliverable”.

The same message will undoubtedly be issued for the flight schedule next winter if problems persist.

Tens of thousands of passengers have been hit by cancellations and delays at UK airports in recent weeks and there remain fears for next winter.

The aviation industry made thousands of employees redundant during the pandemic and many have yet to be replaced, despite a surge in demand for travel.

Brexit is also having an impact with the end of the free movement of labour from EU countries.

The problem was particularly bad during Easter with an impact on the end of the ski season.

The summer half-term school holidays were affected with British Airways, TUI and Easyjet apologising.

The ground handling firm Swissport said it had hired 3,000 people since the start of the year.

It is taking up to 90 days to get them a full airside pass due to the referencing process.

After the summer eyes will turn to the winter ahead.

Innsbruck airport

Innsbruck airport, Austria. Image © PlanetSKI