Monday has brought more flight cancellations from Britain’s two biggest airlines, with easyJet and British Airways axing more than 100 scheduled services between them.
Their main bases, London Heathrow and London Gatwick, are worst affected.
British Airways has canceled 58 domestic and European flights to and from Heathrow so far on Monday.
Meanwhile easyJet has canceled at least 32 flights so far on Monday from its biggest base, Gatwick. Other cancellations have been made from Luton and Edinburgh.
Both airlines have blamed a shortage of staff due to Covid-related absences.
Elsewhere, UK airports continue to struggle under the weight of increased passenger numbers, also citing staffing issues as demand ramps up.
Both Manchester and Leeds airports have told travelers to arrive three hours before their scheduled departure times to ensure they don’t get stuck in lengthy security queues and miss their flight.
Follow the latest updates below.
Your urgent international travel questions answered by Simon Calder
The Independent‘s illustrious travel correspondent, Simon Calder, has been hard at work answering another batch readers’ most pressing travel questions amid widescale disruption at UK airports this Easter.
See his full Q&A session for the latest on whether you’re due compensation if your flight is cancelled; how to handle a missing baggage claim; and how long savvy passengers should arrive before their flight:
Helen Coffey11 April 2022 12:34
Heathrow Airport scheduled to reach 86 per cent of 2019 levels this Easter
As Heathrow celebrates its busiest month since the start of the pandemic, flight aviation analytics firm Cirium has revealed that the airport is on track to reach 2,277 departures this Easter – nearly 86 per cent of Easter 2019 levels.
The largest airlines from Heathrow this Easter are scheduled to be British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines.
In March 2022, there were 13,741 departures from London Heathrow – the highest number since March 2020, when 16,069 flights departed the airport.
Flights are scheduled to rise a further 24 per cent this month, with 17,040 take-offs scheduled for April.
Helen Coffey11 April 2022 11:55
Holidaymakers urged to renew passports now as wait times set to double
British travelers who need a new passport are being urged to apply now ahead of the summer holidays.
A backlog of applications means wait times may be double the standard length, holidaymakers have been warned.
The passport office expects applications for renewals and brand new travel documents to soar in the coming months, meaning travelers could end up waiting 10 rather than five weeks to receive their passport.
Helen Coffey11 April 2022 11:32
100-plus flights canceled to and from the UK
Another day, another 100-plus cancellations of flights to and from the UK.
Passengers attempting to jet off on their Easter holidays are encountering widespread flight cancellations, at airports across the UK.
Once again British Airways and easyJet have grounded at least 100 services between them. Their main bases, London Heathrow and London Gatwick, are worst affected.
Read our full list of the flights that are canceled so far today at Heathrow by BA and at Gatwick by easyJet:
simon calder11 April 2022 11:01
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent‘s travel liveblog. We’ll be sharing all the latest news and updates throughout the day.
Helen Coffey11 April 2022 10:50
Queues at Stockholm’s airport as Europe’s hubs struggle to cope with increased demand
David Pauritsch, the founder of YouTube channel Simply Aviation, has shared video of a long security queue stretching the length of the terminal at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.
“Security line at Stockholm Arlanda Airport right now… With demand for flights surging, the next few weeks will be challenging for the nerves of travelers everywhere,” he captioned the video.
He also followed up with a tip for how to beat the queues: “Friend of mine based here in Stockholm told me Amex Platinum card holders can use the priority lane at a different security checkpoint. Let’s hope that works!”
Lucy Thackray8 April 2022 16:39
CAA’s letter to airlines ‘too late’, says travel expert
The Civil Aviation Authority, which issued a letter to airlines yesterday, has taken action too late for Easter holidaymakers, says Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel.
The letter, signed by chief executive Richard Moriarty, served as a warnings to airlines and airports currently experiencing disruption, reminding them of “the CAA’s expectation that airlines and airports will work closely together to manage the resourcing challenges, whatever the cause, to ensure that the required capacity levels are achieved, and disruption is kept to a minimum”.
“Unfortunately, this intervention comes too late and may make little difference for the tens of thousands of would-be passengers whose flights are being canceled at short notice,” said Mr Boland.
“Some airlines have left themselves woefully understaffed to cope with the rebound in travel and it is unfair that individuals and families are made to pay the price with lost holidays and money wasted on travel and other expenses at airports.
“Travellers are enduring yet another holiday season in which their legal rights are being ignored by their airlines. We know that some carriers are failing to tell people about their rights around rerouting and compensation, and this reinforces why the regulator must be given stronger powers so it can take effective action when rules have been broken.”
Lucy Thackray8 April 2022 16:18
Airlines urged to set ‘deliverable’ schedules after flight cancellations
Airlines have been urged by the aviation regulator to set “deliverable” schedules after thousands of UK flights were canceled in recent days due to staff shortages.
Civil Aviation Authority chief executive Richard Moriarty warned that late-notice cancellations and excessive delays are “not just distressing for affected consumers but have the potential to impact confidence levels across the industry”.
In a letter to airlines, I have acknowledged that many are in the process of recruiting large numbers of staff but “it is clear that this has not always happened sufficiently quickly to cope with the increased passenger travel in recent days”.
He wrote: “Given the consequences for passengers of canceled and disrupted journeys, I encourage you to do all you can to ensure that you have the necessary level of appropriately-trained and cleared staff resources in place.”
It is “very important” that airlines are setting schedules “on a basis that is deliverable given available staff (including contractors), and has resilience for staff sickness, including from Covid”, Mr Moriarty added.
Manchester airport interviews 4,000 people to try to fill roles
Manchester Airport Group has interviewed 4,000 people in the last two months to try to combat its chronic staff shortage.
The recruitment drive is aimed at combating the long queues at check-in and security that have been seen this week, which in some cases caused passengers to miss their flights.
Some 250 new recruits will be joining the security team by early May to “ease operational pressure” and reduce queue times.
Another 200 candidates are currently going through the security checks needed before they can begin their training.
Helen Coffey8 April 2022 15:13
Jet2 predicts end-of-year losses of £383m
Jet2, the UK’s second largest travel group, is projecting that it has lost between £378m and £383m in the past year.
Although things are now looking up for travel – as restrictions ease and demand for holidays subsequently arises – the airline and tour operator was hit by the Omicron variant and accompanying international travel bans this winter.
This “served to dampen customer confidence”, the company said in its latest trading update for the year to 31 March, which shows it as having total cash of £2.23bn with an ‘own cash’ balance – excluding advance customer deposits – of £ 1.08bn.
Helen Coffey8 April 2022 13:24