The UK government today announced a 22-point plan to reduce disruptions at airports during busy summers and address ongoing problems across the aviation sector.
Following the stream of negative news about flight cancellations and staffing issues in recent weeks, the action plan outlines how the government will support the sector during the peak season – including steps to ensure a realistic summer schedule and help recruit and train staff.
The plan includes a one-time ‘amnesty’ declaration in the airport’s slot rules last week, which allows airlines to temporarily return if they are unable to handle valuable take-off and landing slots at UK airports.
To manage the schedule, a new weekly strategic risk group has been established, chaired by ministers and attended by CEOs of airlines, airports and ground handlers. In addition to the integrated plan with neighboring countries, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), the UK government is also reviewing the ground handling market.
Other actions outlined in the plan include measures to reduce the time it takes to get new staff on board, including changing the law to allow more flexibility in background checks and launching a Generation Aviation Campaign to raise awareness about aviation careers. It will be backed by a £ 700,000 skills funding competition in the fall with the UK Civil Aviation Authority to support outreach across the sector.
After the plan was unveiled, UK Transport Secretary Grant Schapps said it was now up to airports and airlines to “cancel or cancel the flights they had promised to run” to avoid a recurrence of the chaos.
The aviation minister, Robert Courts, added that the plan was not just to reduce disruptions during the summer, but to “help the sector recruit the necessary staff in the long run.”
Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority, said the government’s move would help the sector become more resilient in meeting customer demand.
“We will work alongside the government and the wider industry to help provide a better experience for passengers,” Moriarty said.
Clive Ratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, praised the government’s plans, but said the focus on summer leisure travel was “disappointing”.
“There needs to be a long-term strategy to overcome the current barriers faced by both business and leisure travelers. To enhance the status of our international trade, people traveling for work can have confidence in their system, it is essential,” he said. .
The UK government plans to launch a new airline passenger charter in the coming weeks. Developed in partnership with industry and consumer groups, the charter is expected to provide a ‘one-stop guide’ to educating consumers about their rights and what they can reasonably expect when flying from airports and airlines.