After a slew of cancellations caused considerable annoyance for vacationers, Britain’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has ordered airlines to cease selling tickets for flights they cannot crew. Airports around Europe have battled to keep up with a post-pandemic surge in demand, but British airports face an especially challenging week as a school half-term break coincides with a lengthy public holiday weekend.
Airports witnessed similar lines during the Easter holiday earlier this year, and Shapps stated that while some initiatives had been done, there had not been the necessary development.
“We need to make sure there is no repeat of the scenes witnessed over the last few days. Despite government warnings, operators seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver,” Shapps said, adding he would meet industry officials to discuss the issues. “This must not happen again and all efforts should be directed at there being no repeat of this over the summer.”
Following two years of Covid-19 travel restrictions, airlines had counted on a booming summer for travelers. However, businesses have struggled to hire workers following the pandemic’s chaos, and they say that it is taking longer to recruit new employees and qualify them for security clearance.
Shapps said the government had helped the industry by changing the law to speed up the recruitment of staff, adding that the “government has done its part.”
Huw Merriman, chair of parliament’s Transport Select Committee, said the government had encouraged airlines to fly by requiring them to utilize 70% of their flight slots or lose them, and that Shapps’ phrasing was counterproductive.