Easter holidaymakers ‘face travel hell’ on Saturday at airports as police step in

Airports have seen huge queues as they struggle to cope with a surge in demand and now there is set to be more travel chaos on Saturday which is set to be the busiest day of the year

People are bracing themselves for travel chaos on Saturday

Brit holidaymakers hoping for a break in the sun face horror queues at airports this Saturday, which is expected to be the busiest day of the year so far.

Stories of passengers waiting for hours in queues wrapping around terminals and missing flights have hit the headlines in recent weeks as airports struggle to cope with people heading off on holiday with the removal of Covid restrictions.

This Saturday will see the start of the Easter rush and many holidaymakers are worried whether they will be able to catch their flights.

Airports have been telling travelers to check with their airline over departure times and what time they should arrive at airports.

More than 1,000 UK flights have been axed in recent days and people are being warned that more will also be cancelled.

Large queues have been seen so far at airports


Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP)

At Manchester Airport, police are being brought in to help as well as more temporary staff, to deal with the demand.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson has said that they would be increasing “our presence such as to just make sure that people keep calm heads on the situation.”

GMP has already been deployed to the ailing international airport, to assist in security.

The chief constable also clarified that he would not have so many officers at the airport that other areas of Greater Manchester suffer as a result.

He told the Manchester Evening News: “We’ve already put extra police officers in, of course we did over the weekend.

“Of course, you wouldn’t expect to see police officers doing baggage handling type tasks, and there is no, there’s no prospect of that, because that’s not what we’ve been asked to do.

Baggage pictured thrown around at Manchester Airport


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“The issue is that there are a number of issues at the airport. We’ve got a lot of people who through no fault of their own are stood in very long queues and sometimes some frustration manifests itself. And so we have increased our presence such as to just make sure that people keep calm heads on the situation.

“I do know that between us certainly the airport authorities, the mayor, and all manner of people are acting in good faith to try and bring resolution to these problems. But we are a key partner in assisting with the security element [of] what happens at the airport, and we’re willing to step in to do whatever we can to get over this hump.”

He added: “This is just about us trying to be helpful whilst we get over this sort of post-Covid hump that is currently afflicting the airport as it is with many other organisations.”

Yesterday, Karen Smart — managing director of the Manchester Airports Group — resigned her post to ‘pursue fresh career opportunities.

Many flights have been canceled due to the chaos at airports up and down the country



In a statement which criticizes Manchester Airport for acting too late on recruitment, insufficient communication to passengers and queue management, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has revealed measures to ease the ongoing crisis.

He also warned that “disruption”, caused mainly by a staff shortage, was expected to continue for “two months”.

Aviation data firm Cirium said 1,143 UK flights were canceled last week, compared with just 197 during the same period in 2019.

The vast majority of last week’s cancellations were by easyJet and British Airways. The rate of staff absences at easyJet is around double normal levels and around 60 of its flights scheduled for last Tuesday were cancelled.

BA canceled at least 98 flights to or from Heathrow on Tuesday with that figure including routes suspended for several months because of the pandemic, such as those featuring some Asian destinations.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “This is a staggering level of flight cancellations caused by a cocktail of not having enough staff in place and Covid-induced staff shortages.

“Airlines are certainly seeing a high level of demand to fly, but are simply unable to cope with that demand due to a lack of resources. It’s a nightmare situation for airlines and airports at the moment.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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