Brits should expect more travel chaos with British Airways as the airline plans to cancel flights ahead of this summer, it has been warned.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed that BA is struggling to cope with the increase in demand since Covid restrictions were scrapped.
The minister added that there has been an extreme strain on the airline in response to staff shortages and said BA are proactively slashing flights.
It comes as holidaymakers have been hit with huge delays at airports and have been left to suffer from regular cancellations, reports The Mirror.
British Airways and EasyJet are two airlines who have been hit particularly bad by staff issues and the British national carrier has had to cancel more than 1,500 flights over the past month.
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Mr Shapps said he called British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle into his office on Tuesday to discuss the recent disruption.
The Cabinet minister told the committee that Mr Doyle explained that the problems are “growing pains in lots of different directions”.
Mr Shapps said: “He told me they were proactively, in advance now, slimming down their programme in order to be able to meet the demand.”
The minister said the airline has found it “quite difficult” to recruit enough ground staff such as baggage handlers in a “very, very tight employment market”.
A particular reason for slow recruitment has been down to getting security checks completed and now Mr Shapps has said that new aviation recruits will be permitted to begin training before passing security checks to ease flight disruption.
Passengers have faced chaos in recent weeks, with flights cancelled and long queues at airports.
British Airways is axing around 100 short-haul flights at Heathrow every day due to staff shortages.
Travellers have reported being forced to wait for several hours to pass through security and passport checks at airports such as Birmingham, Manchester and Heathrow.
Mr Shapps said he will “look for ways to try to assist” the sector but will not “compromise in any way, shape or form with aviation security and safety”.
He told the Commons’ Transport Select Committee yesterday (Wednesday, April 27): “I have looked at the rules and found an area where we can assist with the bureaucracy, particularly with regard to new people coming into the industry, and their need to be security checked.
“We can begin the training, without exposing them to the parts of the training which are security-related, without having the security check complete, as long as it’s complete before they start the security-related stuff.
“I have a Statutory Instrument – I think it comes to the House today – to do exactly that.”
He added: “This is an example of how we’ll try to work with the sector, but in the end they will have to resolve these problems by getting people in the right places.”
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