UK airport warns COVID-related delays could last months – Reuters News in France and abroad

LONDON — A major British airport warned passengers on Friday to expect delays affecting travel to continue for months, as Britain’s aviation regulator told the country’s airline industry to restrain itself. recover after weeks of canceled flights and long queues at the airport.

The manager of Manchester Airport in north-west England said passengers could wait up to 90 minutes to pass through security “over the next few months”.

Travelers to Britain have suffered days of delays during the ongoing Easter school holidays, with British Airways and easyJet canceling hundreds of flights due to coronavirus-related staff absences and long queues at check-in points. check-in, security and baggage check-in at the airport.

Manchester, Heathrow and Birmingham airports have all experienced problems, stemming from a mix of staff who are sick with COVID-19 and the difficulty of replacing laid-off workers during the pandemic when international travel came to a halt.

Manchester Airport’s chief executive resigned this week. Charlie Cornish, managing director of owner Manchester Airports Group, acknowledged that the airport does not have “the number of staff we need to provide the level of service our passengers deserve”.

“Despite our best efforts since last fall, the tight labor market around the airport means we simply haven’t been able to hire people quickly enough to build a full team,” he said. he declares.

He said departing passengers should arrive three hours before their flight to ensure they have enough time.

Civil Aviation Authority chief executive Richard Moriarty has told airlines they must establish “deliverable” schedules and “have the necessary level” of staff.

In a letter, he said the delays and cancellations were “not only distressing for affected consumers, but could impact confidence levels in the industry.”

EasyJet said earlier this week that the number of crew illnesses was more than double normal levels due to high rates of COVID-19 infection across Europe.

British Airways said many of its cancellations include flights that were halted when it decided last month to shorten its schedule until the end of May to boost reliability amid rising COVID-19 cases. 19.

Infections across the UK have soared again with the rapid spread of the more transmissible variant of omicron BA.2, reaching record levels last week when official figures showed that around 1 in 13 had the virus.

The Easter school holidays are the first time many British families have booked overseas trips after two years of pandemic restrictions. All remaining virus measures, including mandatory self-isolation for those infected and testing requirements for international travel, were scrapped in February and March.

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UK airport warns COVID-related delays could last months – Reuters News in France and abroad