East Midlands Airport issues statement over Bank Holiday travel chaos

East Midlands Airport issues statement over Bank Holiday travel chaos

East Midlands Airport has issued a statement as travellers up and down the country face huge delays and flight cancellations. Airlines such as easyJet and Tui have been affected by a lack of staff.

East Midlands Airport has assured passengers it will be able to ensure smooth travel for them. It insists “plans are in place to ensure we respond to this extra demand”.

Government ministers have been accused of failing to “step up” as holidaymakers continue to suffer major disruption at several UK airports, reports Leicestershire Live. Shadow financial secretary to the Treasury James Murray claimed the Government “hasn’t prepared” for the rise in demand for travel.

Read more: TUI, Jet2, EasyJet and Ryanair outline correct times to arrive for flights

Aviation data firm Cirium said 291 departures from major UK airports have been cancelled between May 25 and Tuesday. During the chaotic fallout for passengers, a spokeswoman for the Government has insisted the aviation industry was “responsible for making sure they have enough staff to meet demand”.

Airline passengers have been hit by cancellations and long delays at some airports for several months, with the situation appearing to worsen this week during the half-term school holiday and ahead of the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday period. Tui Airways will cancel around six flights at Manchester Airport every day until the end of June. A total of 291 departures from major UK airports had been cancelled between May 25 and May 31.

The airline said in a statement this is due to “ongoing challenges in our operation”. In response, the airport said the carrier and its ground handler, Swissport, are suffering from staff shortages and are experiencing “significant challenges with their check-in and baggage reclaim operations”.

It added: “We understand Tui’s difficult decision to cancel a number of services over the course of the next month, although we are obviously disappointed to see passengers’ plans disrupted in this way.”

EasyJet cancelled at least 31 flights at Gatwick on Tuesday. British Airways is continuing to cancel dozens of flights each day, although the airline said passengers are being told several days in advance.

Passengers at airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Bristol are reporting long delays, although East Midlands Airport has not seen the same chaos.

An East Midlands Airport spokesperson said: “The Covid Pandemic, from which the entire aviation sector is still recovering, was the biggest ever shock to international travel. The challenges it currently faces as passenger demand grows following two years of significant disruption is a global issue, and not unique to the UK.

“As each day passes, East Midlands Airport (EMA) feels more like it should at this time of year. Rewind 12 months and the contrast could not be greater. In May 2021, as restrictions were starting to be eased, we welcomed 400 passengers a day.

“Today we’re seeing 14,000 daily passengers. Throughout this half-term week, we anticipate that 170,000 passengers will travel through EMA, most of whom are flying to popular holiday destinations across Europe.

“While there have been isolated incidents of disruption, we don’t envisage there being significant issues in the coming days. As the core summer months approach, passenger numbers will increase.

“Together, with our airline partners, plans are in place to ensure we respond to this extra demand. Thanks to the team’s hard work, the progress we’ve made with recruitment and the flexibility of colleagues to cover busy shifts, our passengers are getting through security without delay.”

“We also encourage passengers to do their bit to help themselves by:

  • turning up when their airline asks them to – not before, not after
  • be diligent when packing bags
  • understanding what’s required of them before going through security
  • making sure they have the necessary documentation or evidence of tests/vaccines if required
  • planning ahead – and not leaving preparation until the last minute”

The aviation industry is suffering from staff shortages after thousands were let go during the coronavirus pandemic. They are now struggling to recruit new workers and have their security checks processed.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps introduced legislation last month to allow new aviation recruits to begin training before passing security checks to reduce the time it takes for them to start work. A Government spokeswoman said airports are “busier than usual” due to “an exceptionally high number of people travelling” this week.