Travelers in the United Kingdom can expect long waits and last-minute changes to their plans. In an interview with Sky News, a representative of the British government, Secretary of State Stephen Parkinson, blamed the companies for the travel chaos of the current period, in which queues formed all the way out at several U.K. airports and many trips were canceled.
"We've told the industry that they need to prepare for this and hire enough people so that people can travel and enjoy their vacations," Parkinson said. Companies should have hired more employees.
Travel company Tui is canceling almost 200 flights at Manchester Airport by the end of June. Low-cost airline Easyjet has also canceled more than 200 flights in the period ending June 6. Passengers also had to wait long at several airports, such as Bristol or London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
According to experts, many of the delays or last-minute cancellations of flights are actually due to staff shortages. Several companies - Manchester Airport, for example - have taken on hundreds of new employees following the peak of the pandemic, but some of them still have to undergo training and security checks and are therefore not yet operational. A representative of the GMB union told the BBC it is currently almost impossible to find staff in the industry. Many had migrated to other areas in the course of the pandemic, he said.
Industry expert Alex Macheras predicted a "summer of chaos" on Twitter, and several British newspapers also devoted their front pages to the turbulence. The travel chaos is expected to continue in the coming times: after the Queen's Jubilee celebrations in Britain, as well as a long weekend for most Britons. In addition, there are school vacations in England that make things even more complicated.