With staff shortages and amid a crisis in the airline industry in the UK, London Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in the country, asked airlines to cancel 10% of flights scheduled for this Monday (20). ).
The order was triggered after a technical glitch in the airport’s baggage system that caused luggage to pile up at the airport over the weekend. The scene was of endless lines of luggage and confusion among passengers when it came to finding personal belongings.
Annoyed, passengers told on social media about waiting up to two hours for luggage delivery or trips without taking their bags. A spokesperson for Heathrow told Sky News that it apologized to customers and explained that the request for a reduction in the number of flights “will allow us to minimize the ongoing impact” of the problem on the system.
Around 30 flights with up to 5,000 passengers were canceled in total, the British network BBC reported. Airlines have argued that the exponential growth in demand in the sector, especially after Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, exposed the shortage of manpower, and that they are now trying to solve the problem. Officials, meanwhile, say this is a key opportunity to reflect the labor crisis in the travel industry.
The episode was not punctual. Also on Monday, the low-cost airline EasyJet announced that it would cut thousands of flights this summer due to a shortage of staff at London’s Gatwick airports and Amsterdam’s Schiphol, where it is concentrated.
The company said it expects to use about 90% of its pre-pandemic capacity in the months of July, August and September, down from the 97% initially scheduled. He also justified that the main reason was the delay in hiring employees, mainly due to the delay for them to obtain a security authorization to perform sensitive work, such as baggage screening.
Gatwick Airport, where EasyJet is the largest airline, said on Friday that it would limit flights because of labor shortages. Schiphol also imposed a cap, leading to a 16% cut in planned flights during peak season.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said shortening the schedule minimizes last-minute cancellations that have had a greater impact on customers. “More resilience is needed in this summer’s schedule, proactively canceling flights, providing customers with advance notice and rebooking options.”
The crisis in the country’s transport sector is only set to escalate this week, as Britain expects the second biggest rail strike in 30 years, with trains canceled across the country.