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Britain Tells Airlines To Stop Selling Flights They Cannot Deliver

By Dave Simpson

Britain's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told airlines to stop selling tickets for flights that they cannot staff after a spate of cancellations caused widespread disruption for holidaymakers.

Details

Airports across Europe have struggled to cope with a post-pandemic rebound in demand, but British airports are facing a particularly difficult week as a school half-term holiday combines with a long public holiday weekend to mark Queen Elizabeth's 70 years on the throne.

Airports faced similar queues over the Easter vacation earlier this year and Shapps said that while some steps had been taken, there had not been the progress that is needed.

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"We need to make sure there is no repeat of the scenes witnessed over the last few days. Despite government warnings, operators seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver," Shapps said, adding he would meet industry officials to discuss the issues.

"This must not happen again and all efforts should be directed at there being no repeat of this over the summer."

Airlines had hoped for a bumper summer for passengers after two years of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

But they have struggled to recruit staff after the turmoil of the pandemic, and complain it is taking longer to recruit new employees and vet them for security clearance.

Shapps said the government had helped the industry by changing the law to speed up the recruitment of staff, adding that the "government has done its part."

However Huw Merriman, chair of parliament's Transport Select Committee, said government had in fact told airlines to fly by saying they had to use 70% of their flight slots or lose them, adding that Shapps' language was unhelpful.

"I think it's disappointing for the government to appear to blame the industry. This is an industry that's lost billions," Merriman, a Conservative lawmaker, told Sky News, adding that airlines had been waiting for clarity on changing rules.

"We need to find the solutions between government and industry to help the industry cope," Merriman added.

Paris Airports And Eurostar Warn Of disruption To Travellers

The above news was followed by news that the Paris Airport authority, which manages Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, and the Eurostar rail service both warned on Wednesday 1 June of major disruption to travellers, adding to pressure on holidaymakers already facing delays across Europe.

The Paris Airport body sent a message on its Twitter account saying that software problems were impacting border controls checks, and this in turn would lead to delays.

Eurostar, which runs train services linking London to Paris, also issued a similar warning.

"Our stations are very busy today. Passport and security checks are taking longer than usual due to issues with French authority control systems," it said on its Twitter account.

Airports across Europe have struggled to cope with a post-pandemic rebound in demand, but British airports are facing a particularly difficult week as a school half-term holiday combines with a long public holiday weekend to mark Queen Elizabeth's 70 years on the throne.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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