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Why are airlines and airports in chaos? Experts have their say

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The magnitude of the debacle engulfing Britain’s aviation sector has been laid bare in recent days – and it shouldn’t be a reasonably sight.

For what ought to be a calming break away for thousands and thousands of individuals this summer, it has was a myriad of worry about last minute cancellations and airport chaos.  

This week, Dubai-based airline Emirates rejected an order from Heathrow that it must cancel flights to and from the airport to comply with a recent cap on passenger numbers.

Heathrow has capped passenger numbers to 100,000 a day until 11 September, and told airlines to stop selling summer tickets. 

Shambolic: Swathes of passengers are facing lengthy queues and delays at airports 

Last week British Airways, previously seen by many as a stalwart of the nation’s aviation sector, announced plans to chop an additional 10,000 flights to the tip of October. 

Other airlines like easyJet have also made sweeping cancellations to try to rein within the chaos. 

What is occurring within the aviation sector? How has this shambles emerged and why weren’t airports and airlines adequately prepared  for the surely inevitable surge in demand for travel following the pandemic? That is Money asked two experts to seek out out. 

From their evaluation, it appears a potent cocktail of things have combined, triggering the shambolic scenes seen now. 

It’s also not only Britain’s airports and airlines struggling. Problems are occurring across Europe, with airports like Schipol in Amsterdam also hit hard.

Talking to That is Money, Rhys Jones, an authority at Head for Points, said: ‘Fundamentally, the chaos we’re seeing at airports and airlines within the UK is the results of multiple issues happening at the identical time. 

‘Perhaps the most important problem was the proven fact that the furlough scheme led to the autumn, before air travel demand had returned to anywhere near its previous highs, leaving airlines and airports to make difficult decisions about staffing levels. 

‘This was further compounded by Omicron, which stalled the recovery of the sector, and the dearth of clarity from the Government about how and when travel restrictions can be lifted. 

‘Last December it will have been extremely hard to predict whether travel would bounce back in 2022 or whether Omicron would lead to further lockdowns and travel restrictions.

‘It could have gone either way, and the aviation industry was careful to not overstretch itself for fear of losing more cash than it already had, so there was a whole lot of caution about ramping up again.’

He added: ‘The ramp up of the past six months can be unprecedented, going from very low volumes of traffic to very high ones in a really short space of time, which could be very difficult to administer. 

‘I do not think the aviation industry has ever experienced such an enormous bounce-back over so short an area of time – I think post-9/11 and post-2008 were more gradual, for instance.’

Cancellations: British Airways has axed thousands of flights until the autumn

Cancellations: British Airways has axed 1000’s of flights until the autumn

Notably, Jones doesn’t imagine anyone entity is accountable for the present chaos, because numerous aspects have played a job in exacerbating the situation.

By way of when the present chaos will begin to calm down, Jones said: ‘I’m hopeful that issues can be resolved by late summer/autumn, which is in fact too late for the height school holiday season which can be essentially the most profitable period for airlines and airports.’

Gordon Smith, a travel expert and aviation journalist, told That is Money: ‘While there was little doubt that a rebound would eventually occur, the size and speed of the surge in passenger demand caught many businesses off guard.’

He added: ‘There are serious fault lines appearing between the airlines who planned properly and are ready for the summer, and people who are struggling to manage. 

‘The big frustrations stem from the proven fact that aviation is a posh ecosystem, and carriers are only as strong as their weakest partner. 

‘You would possibly have your personal house so as, but when a contractor or supplier is struggling, you – and your passengers – will soon start feeling the pain too.’

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On the difficulty of passenger number restrictions and the sector’s outlook, Gordon said: ‘After greater than two years of begging us to get on a plane, some airlines are actually going out of their strategy to keep passenger numbers down. 

‘It is a farcical state of affairs, but with no quick fixes, it looks likely that this turbulence will proceed for the remaining of the summer season.’ 

One other factor that can not be ignored centres on one word: recruitment. 

In recent months the aviation sector has been scrambling to rent recent staff after axing 1000’s of jobs throughout the pandemic, and likewise seeing many quit for higher paid work in other industries. 

British Airways alone shed around 10,000 staff throughout the pandemic. 

Now, those aviation firms that cut their staffing levels to the bone have been unable to recruit fast enough after the Government suddenly lifted all travel restrictions in March, fuelling an enormous surge in bookings. 

Jones told That is Money: ‘We’re in certainly one of the most well liked worker markets ever straight away, so a whole lot of staff previously working in menial labour jobs at airports and airlines have found they’ll get well paying jobs with higher hours elsewhere. 

‘Who desires to rise up at 3am to maneuver baggage around on minimum wage?’

British Airways is offering recent cabin crew a £1,000 ‘golden hello’ because the airline battles to recruit staff. 

While the situation is gloomy, it’s, Jones told That is Money, essential to notice that not all airlines and airports are floundering. 

Jones said: ‘While British Airways, Wizz Air and easyJet are having a very tough time, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic have fared rather more favourably. 

‘In the event you have not booked your summer holiday yet, it pays to do your homework and discover who and where is holding up well.’

In case your flight is cancelled otherwise you face hefty delays while on the airport, it pays to know your rights and what compensation it’s possible you’ll be entitled to. 

That is Money has a handy guide in your rights for flight cancellations, detailing what it is best to do if, for example, you can’t go on holiday because your flight is cancelled or what to do for those who are stuck at an airport for hours. 

How much compensation am I entitled to if my flight is cancelled?

In case your flight was cancelled lower than 7 days before departure
DistanceDeparture and arrival timesCompensation
Lower than 1,500kmIn case your recent flight takes off a couple of hour before your original flight, and arrives lower than two hours after it£110
In case your recent flight arrives greater than two hours after your original flight£220
1,500km to three,500kmIn case your recent flight departs a couple of hour before your original flight, and arrives lower than three hours after it£175
In case your recent flight arrives greater than three hours after your original flight£350
Greater than 3,500kmIn case your recent flight departs a couple of hour before your original flight, and arrives lower than 4 hours after it£260
In case your recent flight arrives greater than 4 hours after your original flight£520
In case your flight was cancelled between 7 and 14 days before departure
DistanceDeparture and arrival timesCompensation
Lower than 1,500kmIn case your recent flight takes off greater than two hours before your original flight, and arrives lower than two hours after it£110
In case your recent flight takes off greater than two hours before your original flight, and arrives greater than two hours after it£220
In case your recent flight arrives greater than 4 hours after your original flight£220
1,500km to three,500kmIn case your recent flight takes off greater than two hours before your original flight, and arrives lower than three hours after it£175
In case your recent flight takes off greater than two hours before your original flight, and arrives three to 4 hours after it£350
In case your recent flight arrives greater than 4 hours after your original flight£350
Greater than 3,500kmIn case your recent flight departs greater than two hours before your original flight, and arrives lower than 4 hours after it£260
In case your recent flight arrives greater than 4 hours after your original flight£520

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