Airlines have been asked to review their summer schedules “new” after major disruptions in the sector in recent weeks so that they are “deliverable” to the UK government and the Civil Aviation Authority.
The Department for Transport (DFT) and aviation regulator CAA have written a joint letter to the industry urging carriers to reevaluate their plans for the rest of the summer season by the end of September.
The letter was released because aviation statistics warned UK politicians that current problems in the sector would not be fixed before the summer maximum. Although the situation was “getting better” because more staff were being recruited to deal with the rebound on the trip.
“Your schedule must be based on the resources available to you and your contractors and be resilient to the unplanned and unavoidable operational challenges you will face,” DfT and CAA said in their letter.
“While canceling at any time is a sad inconvenience for passengers, it is our view that canceling as early as possible to provide a more robust schedule is better than late notice for consumers than canceling the day.”
TMC members of the Business Travel Association spent the equivalent of 223 days last month dealing with the impact of flight cancellations due to recent disruptions.
At a session of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee on Tuesday (June 14th), it was heard that the industry was unprepared for post-epidemic demand after losing seven percent of its workforce. The last two years.
Karen D, CEO of the Airport Operators Association, told MPs that there were “barriers to recruitment”, including uncertainty about when the sector would reopen.
“We were hiring in November but then Omicron comes and we shut down again,” D said. “It has improved a lot since the restrictions were lifted in February and March.
“Although we have removed all restrictions here [in the UK], Still need to check that there are destination countries. Airlines will have to do these tests and show passengers additional documents. “
Oliver Richardson, national officer at Union United’s Civil Air Transport, added that the “industrial economy” did not allow it to grow rapidly, adding that its members had been abused by frustrated passengers due to delays and cancellations.
“There’s a lot of frustration in the system,” he said. “People are thinking: I can go somewhere else where we don’t face this kind of abuse.”
The industry has also called on the government to “streamline” testing and safety procedures for new workers to help eliminate stuffing problems this summer.
Sophie Deckers, Chief Commercial Officer at EasyJet, said: “The main challenge is the recruitment process and ID checking. It takes longer to process IDs – it takes 14 weeks to get a crew pass. The pre-epidemic took 10 weeks. We have 142 crew who are now trained but do not have ID passes. “
Lisa Tremble, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at British Airways, added: “We want to be better. No one wants to disappoint customers. We want to give the best possible service. We want to make sure our schedule is as resilient as possible. “
CAA chief executive Richard Moriarty emphasized that disruption to flights was not the only UK-specific problem.
He added that the Jubilee half-term week had a cancellation rate of 2 to 4 per cent for all flights in the UK, compared to 3 per cent in France and 11 per cent in the Netherlands. Same period
“Obviously it’s painful and clearly unacceptable but if we look at other countries in comparison, at the same time their cancellation rate is equally high,” Moriarty said.