After scenes of chaos and flight cancellations that have recently affected British airports, the London hub of Gatwick announced this Friday to significantly reduce the number of daily flights in July and August.
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“During this peak holiday period, the airport will carefully and gradually increase its capacity.limiting it to 825 daily flights in July and 850 in August, the airport announced in a press release, which made about 900 daily flights during these summer months prior to the pandemic. The airport evokessevere understaffingwhich will affect several Gatwick-based airlines or ground service providers during the summer season. “If left unaddressed, this issue will leave airport passengers experiencing unreliable and potentially poor service, with more queues, delays and last-minute cancellations.Gatwick warns.
A sector struggling to recruit
The airline industry has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought much traffic to a standstill amid lockdowns and travel restrictions, prompting airlines and airports to lay off thousands of workers. As demand rises, the sector is struggling to recruit, a problem that is expected to continue through the summer and affects the UK but also airports on the European mainland, officials have warned. Gatwick, majority owned by Vinci Airports, was the UK’s second largest airport by number of passengers carried before the pandemic. In a context of still very low traffic, last year it rose to third place, behind Stansted, another airport in the capital.
The decision to reduce the number of flightswill allow airlines to operate and manage more predictable and reliable flight schedules“while the airport experienced”a significant and rapid increasetraffic, especially in early June during the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee long weekend. The chaos at airports in recent months has put the sector under fire from critics, particularly the government, which accuses the companies of having been ill-prepared for a resumption of traffic, however foreseeable.
Government “I tried to work with (the UK’s main hub) Heathrow, Gatwick or other airport operators. We want them to do more“, the Secretary of State for Business, Paul Scully, insisted on Friday on SkyNews. The sector blames the authorities for not having accelerated the validation procedures for new flight or airport personnel.
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