6 JUNE 2022


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Article from BTNews 6 JUNE 2022

Shapps and the travel industry. *

Last week the travel plans of holidaymakers across the country were left in disarray because of mass flight cancellations by airlines and lengthy airport queues.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps and his Aviation Minister Robert Courts on Wednesday met representatives of the industry to try and resolve the problems with a consolatory joint statement issued by the Department for Transport, Airlines UK representing British air carriers, and the Airport Operators Association.  It did little to pacify angry passengers.  Clearly there was a huge gap on where the blame lay.

Cancelled were 377 flights according to flight data specialists Cirium, affecting around 56,000 people.

Conservative Huw Merriman, who chairs the Transport Select Committee, told Sky News it is "disappointing for the government to appear to blame the industry. This is an industry that's lost billions".

Alleging the government has failed to heed warnings, Labour says it is "quite clear that the travel industry has been in trouble for some time in terms of trying to recruit staff".

Airlines have blamed the government, saying that they were given only weeks to prepare for the summer season after the pandemic, when travel was largely restricted.

British Airways said the cancellations were made weeks ago and customers were given plenty of notice.

Airlines and airports alleged that the true cause of the problems was a lack of help when the pandemic broke out, the government now claiming that billions were put into the industry.

Chief Executive of Airlines UK Tim Alderslade summed up:  “This isn’t an airline issue or an airport issue or a government issue. We’re in this together and we look forward to exploring options with ministers to move the sector forwards as we approach the summer".


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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Martin Chalk, Heathrow, UK

Not consulting representatives of the staff is part of the reason recruitment and retention is a problem now. I see neither the airlines nor the Government have learned anything. Aviation doesn't seek to blame, but is famous for collecting all relevant data and learning to alter the system to avoid future failure.

Jill Janes, Luton

I can’t seem to recall minister Shapps meeting the travel industry over the time of the pandemic. Now its safe to travel perhaps he can get out to some airports.

Jeff Thomas, Dover

Well done Mr Merriman. He seems to have grown into the job.