Staff shortages, industrial action, maintenance and an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley will mean roads, airports and seaports will be packed for Easter weekend
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Last minute measures are reportedly being drawn up just days before Easter amid fears of travel chaos for millions of Brits.
In recent days there have been huge queues seen at some UK airports and on roads heading to ferry ports.
And there are warnings that this weekend’s Easter getaway will be the busiest in at least eight years, according to the RAC.
It predicts 21.5 million leisure trips will be made by car between Good Friday and Easter Monday – the most since the service began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014.
The busiest single day on the roads is expected to be Good Friday.
Staff shortages, industrial action, maintenance and an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley will mean roads as well as airports and seaports will all be packed.
The Daily Mail reports that emergency plans are now being drawn up to allow Brits seeking an Easter getaway to dodge the looming travel chaos.
Lucy Moreton of the Immigration Service Union was reported to have said backroom staff who usually carry out checks on prohibited items at airports were being offered bonuses to man the desks at Heathrow.
She said: “There’s the potential for significant problems at the tail-end of this week and at the weekend and planning has already started. We’re bringing staff down from Scotland and Northern Ireland to Heathrow.
“They get expenses and overtime and they’re being offered a cash bonus for each shift they cover at Heathrow. Some passengers will sail through, but others could be looking at several hours in a queue. It won’t be chaos universally but there will be patches.”
Travel firms are said to be at their busiest since the beginning of the pandemic with nearly 4.2million passengers going through Heathrow last month, 35 per cent down on the 6.5million in March 2019.
Over Easter, Good Friday is predicted to be the busiest day of the long weekend with some 2,430 flights leaving the country.
The Times reports that problems at the airports are being hampered by finding recruits and having their security checks completed in time.
Senior industry figures told the outlet it was taking up to six months to vet new security screening staff, cabin crew and baggage operators as airports and airlines expanded their operations.
But ministers are said to have insisted they won’t cut corners on security clearances.
One government source was reported to have said: “The one thing the British public don’t want us taking a risk on is who has security clearance to work on airlines.”
A Home Office spokesman added: “We are working closely with all UK ports and airports to ensure passengers have the smoothest possible journey, and we will continue to deploy our staff flexibly.”