'Thousands' of NI holidaymakers could face travel disruption

Thousands of holidaymakers from Northern Ireland are facing a summer of flight delays and cancellations as travel chaos hits airlines and airports across Europe.

However travel experts have said that most passengers will still be able to fly - but not necessarily on the date they had originally booked.

"We're certainly seeing flight cancellations and flight delays that are maybe more than we'd normally be seeing at this time of year which is disappointing," said travel agent Sandra Corkin.

"I think what's going to change is hopefully we'll get more advance notice of flight cancellations so some of the airlines seem to be rescheduling some of their routes so hopefully we'll get a little bit more notice over the next couple of weeks if there are going to be any more changes."

Travel writer Simon Calder says the entire aviation sector is currently under strain.

"As a result, the vast majority of people travelling to and from Northern Ireland are going to be okay, but we are unfortunately seeing continued last-minute cancellations," he told UTV.

"A number of people, possibly thousands, will be booked on flights that aren't going to happen, but you should be able to get flights rescheduled if your flight is cancelled."

The warning comes as Aer Lingus was forced to cancel additional flights from Dublin Airport this weekend.

The airline says it has been hit by "a significant spike in Covid cases in recent days".

It had already announced the cancellation of three return services on Saturday - between Dublin and London, Dublin and Amsterdam, and a return between London and Knock.

Aer Lingus says a further three return flights, which scheduled for Sunday, have now also been cancelled - between Dublin and Lisbon, Dublin and Milan and Dublin and Amsterdam.

Meanwhile industrial action by ground handling workers at Lyon Airport in France has also required the cancellation of two return flights to Lyon on Saturday.

A statement from Aer Lingus said it "anticipated the return of demand for travel once Covid restrictions were removed and built appropriate buffers into our plans in order to deal with a reasonable level of additional disruption".

It went on: "System pressures and ongoing issues at some airports and among third party suppliers have created considerable challenges which have been compounded by a significant spike in Covid cases in recent days."