EasyJet cancels around 200 flights due to Covid staff shortages

EasyJet has cancelled scores of flights amid travel chaos at some of Britain’s biggest airports, with the airline blaming the disruption on staff shortages due to Covid.

The cancellations come as many hope to jet off for the Easter school holiday.

At least 222 flights in total are said to have been axed, including 62 that were scheduled for Monday, the majority of which were announced at short notice on Saturday.

The airline said it had made efforts to offset staff shortages by “rostering” additional standby crew on the weekend but was forced to make “additional cancellations for today (Sunday) and tomorrow”.An easyJet spokesperson said: “As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness.“We have taken action to mitigate this through the rostering of additional standby crew this weekend, however, with the current levels of sickness we have also decided to make some cancellations in advance which were focused on consolidating flights where we have multiple frequencies so customers have more options to rebook their travel, often on the same day.“Unfortunately it has been necessary to make some additional cancellations for today and tomorrow. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause to customers on affected flights.”

Some holidaymakers have reported being left stranded abroad with no explanation or alternative route home offered by the airline.

Simon Rudkins, 50, said he was due to return from a ski trip in the Alps with his family when the airline contacted him with less than 10 hours notice saying their flight was cancelled.

He said his mother, who is 85 and has dementia, had joined them for the journey back. “She gets very confused and she doesn’t need stress,” Mr Rudkins said.

It comes after passengers were stuck in long queues at Heathrow Airport on Sunday morning as the Easter holidays got under way.The airport attributed the congestion to Covid checks required by destination countries and “high passenger volumes”.But there were also reports of staff shortages and problems with the e-gate passport checkpoints as travellers took to social media to air their frustrations, with some saying they had waited hours to take off.Other travellers said several of the automatic e-gates, staffed by Border Force and used to process passengers, were not operating properly.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Due to high passenger volumes and the Covid documentation checks still required by many end destinations, Terminal 2 departures has experienced some congestion today.“Our teams are supporting our airline partners to get passengers away on their journeys as quickly as possible and we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.”Manchester Airport has experienced similar problems in recent weeks as it has struggled to cope with delays due to increased traveller numbers amid staff shortages.Some travellers landing also voiced complaints about extensive waits in the baggage reclaim halls.A spokesman for Manchester Airport said passengers were being advised that “security queues may be longer than usual” and urged to arrive early for their flight.

Source – ITV.com

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