Government blamed for Easter holiday travel chaos as flight disruption continues

More than 1,000 flights have been cancelled in the last few days Credit:

The Government has been accused of ignoring warnings from the aviation industry about travel disruption over the Easter holidays.

More than 1,000 flights have been cancelled bringing misery for thousands hoping to get away over the break.

Airlines such as Easyjet and British Airways say Covid-related sickness is having an impact on the number of services it can run.

The lack of available staff is also having an impact with the industry struggling to recruit enough staff to meet a surge in demand.

  • Martin Chalk, general secretary of the pilots' union Balpa says extending furlough could've helped disruption at Easter be avoided

Martin Chalk, general secretary of the pilots' union Balpa, said the Government was warned about disruption last winter,

"Clearly, there were warnings given over the winter that this was likely to happen in the spring and particularly around Easter.

"Those warnings were given to the Government, the airlines and the airports were aware of them. The Border Force and all agencies were aware of them.

"The government was reluctant to provide extra support. And despite the fact we argued for elongation of the furlough arrangements to prevent there being a lack of staff at this point, we argued for a Winter Resilience Fund to try and prepare for this upturn in business, neither of those suggestions were taken up."

easyJet has cancelled a number of flights blaming Covid-related sickness Credit: PA

There's also concern that counter-terrorism checks on new airline staff are taking too long to process and that's contributing to the lack of staff.

Martin Chalk said, "This was something that we have discussed with the Minister on a couple of occasions, and I think it is the case that a lack of staffing is hitting everybody.

"I understand that COVID infections are some of the highest rates across parts of the UK that they've ever been and so there are going to be staff off work and I presume that affects the offices of the Government as well as the airlines and the airports."

A Government spokesperson said, "The aviation industry is responsible for resourcing at airports and they manage their staff absences, although we want to see minimal disruption for passengers during the Easter period.

"The requirement for counter terrorist checks for aviation security staff is important for the protection of the travelling public and the Government continues to process these security clearances in a timely manner."