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Bring in the ARMY to ease airports crisis, demands Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary amid huge queues

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The boss of Ryanair has called on the government to deploy the army to help ease the ‘shambolic’ airport crisis that has left holidaymakers facing huge queues again today at Britain’s travel hubs.

Holidaymakers have been waiting for more than ‘three hours’ to collect their luggage today as long delays at airports across the country have continued to impact holiday plans for Britons across the country. 

Hundreds of passengers travel plans for the Jubilee celebrations have been thrown into disarray for the sixth day running after an ‘awful’ week of flight cancellations and painfully-long queues as the staffing crisis continues to cause mayhem at UK airports. 

Michael O’Leary, 61, Ryanair’s chief executive, said ‘defence personnel with experience providing security’ should be drafted in for the next ‘three to four months’ to help ease the ongoing travel disruption at airports across the country.

He told ITV News: ‘Bringing in the army, which they do at many other European airports, would, at a stroke, relieve the pressure on airport security and would mean that people have a much better experience – not just this weekend, but for each weekend over the next three, four months.’

Britons returning from their holidays have complained of ‘three hour delays’ at baggage reclaim across UK airports and ‘abandoned’ luggage ‘left in stacks’ at Heathrow this morning – travellers have also said ‘their luggage has been diverted to another airport’, while others have reported their baggage missing altogether. 

Tui customers have been left furious by ‘awful service’ after their flights landed at 3am this morning at Manchester Airport, forcing families to put their children to sleep on the floor as the crisis continues to cause disruption.

The reason for the ongoing chaos has been due to a aviation staffing crisis – recruiting for roles such as security staff, ground handlers and check-in staff which is seeing passengers advised to arrive much earlier than normal for their flights because they are facing long queues 

While many businesses in the aviation sector are struggling to rehire staff after many were let go during the pandemic due to a collapse in demand thanks to successive lockdowns, high levels of staff sickness for those who are still employed is also having an impact.

The airport chaos has been described as the ‘perfect storm’ by travel experts due to the ending of Covid restrictions encouraging more people to travel amid the four-day bank holiday weekend. 

Today holidaymakers are facing even more travel chaos – with exceptionally lengthy queues at Bristol and Manchester Airport at 6am this morning – with one passenger at Heathrow claiming the a ‘security guard’ was busy ‘playing candy crush’.

The aviation industry is suffering from staff shortages after letting thousands of people go during the coronavirus pandemic.

Manchester Airport: Hundreds of passengers travel plans for the Jubilee celebrations have been thrown into disarray for the sixth day running after an ‘awful’ week of flight cancellations and painfully-long queues as the staffing crisis continues to cause mayhem at UK airports

Heathrow Airport: Britons returning from their holidays have complained of 'three hour delays' at baggage reclaim across UK airports and 'abandoned' luggage 'left in stacks' at Heathrow this morning

Heathrow Airport: Britons returning from their holidays have complained of ‘three hour delays’ at baggage reclaim across UK airports and ‘abandoned’ luggage ‘left in stacks’ at Heathrow this morning

Bristol Airport: Holidaymakers and commuters flying from Bristol endure lengthy queues outside the terminal building and flight delays once again as the Jubilee holiday weekend continues

Bristol Airport: Holidaymakers and commuters flying from Bristol endure lengthy queues outside the terminal building and flight delays once again as the Jubilee holiday weekend continues 

Manchester Airport: The queues were 'slowly moving', according to one passenger at Manchester Airport this morning

Manchester Airport: The queues were ‘slowly moving’, according to one passenger at Manchester Airport this morning 

Michael O’Leary, 61, Ryanair's chief executive, (pictured) said 'defence personnel with experience providing security' should be drafted in for the next 'three to four months' to help ease the ongoing travel disruption at airports across the country

Michael O’Leary, 61, Ryanair’s chief executive, (pictured) said ‘defence personnel with experience providing security’ should be drafted in for the next ‘three to four months’ to help ease the ongoing travel disruption at airports across the country

Manchester Airport: Passengers queue for security at Manchester Airport's Terminal 1 today

Manchester Airport: Passengers queue for security at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1 today 

Birmingham Airport: Passengers check the departures board to make sure they don't miss their flights amid lengthy queues at Britain's travel hubs

Birmingham Airport: Passengers check the departures board to make sure they don’t miss their flights amid lengthy queues at Britain’s travel hubs 

Heathrow Airport: One passenger called Heathrow Airport an 'absolute shambles' after stacks of 'abandoned luggage' were left in 'stacks' across the floor

Heathrow Airport: One passenger called Heathrow Airport an ‘absolute shambles’ after stacks of ‘abandoned luggage’ were left in ‘stacks’ across the floor 

Bristol Airport: The chaotic scenes came after Andy Prendergast, national secretary of the GMB union that represents aviation workers, said passengers should 'pack light' and only take a rucksack to the airport

Bristol Airport: The chaotic scenes came after Andy Prendergast, national secretary of the GMB union that represents aviation workers, said passengers should ‘pack light’ and only take a rucksack to the airport

Manchester Airport: Manchester Airport has experienced chaotic scenes all week - with new figures revealing 332,000 passengers are booked to fly through the travel-hub over the Jubilee weekend

Manchester Airport: Manchester Airport has experienced chaotic scenes all week – with new figures revealing 332,000 passengers are booked to fly through the travel-hub over the Jubilee weekend

Bristol Airport: Holidaymakers experience lengthy queues this morning outside the front entrance of  Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport: Holidaymakers experience lengthy queues this morning outside the front entrance of  Bristol Airport 

Today holidaymakers are facing even more travel chaos - with exceptionally lengthy queues at Bristol and Manchester Airport at 6am this morning - with one passenger at Heathrow claiming the a 'security guard' was busy 'playing candy crush

Today holidaymakers are facing even more travel chaos – with exceptionally lengthy queues at Bristol and Manchester Airport at 6am this morning – with one passenger at Heathrow claiming the a ‘security guard’ was busy ‘playing candy crush

The chaotic scenes came after Andy Prendergast, national secretary of the GMB union that represents aviation workers, said passengers should ‘pack light’ and only take a rucksack to the airport  – meaning passengers will have to purchase toiletries and clothing abroad – to avoid delays. 

He also said it was ‘disingenuous’ for the Transport Secretary to speak out about chaotic scenes at Britain’s airports as issues with staffing ‘have been on the radar for a long time’.

Mr Prendergast told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme on Thursday: ‘This unfortunately was a foreseeable problem, it was one we warned about at the point at which the mass redundancies were made.

‘We asked the Government to look at the aviation industry as a special case and they refused. And now, quite frankly, for Grant Shapps to come out as he has in the last 24 hours is a little bit disingenuous considering these problems have been on the radar for a long time.’

George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of Red Savannah Luxury Travel, added: ‘It is an unfortunate perfect storm and airlines and airports are trying to ramp up again after the pandemic.

‘The travel industry is not an industry that can be turned on and then off again and it was inevitable it was going to take time. My own feeling is I don’t think we are going to see a problem-free summer by any stretch of the imagination. If it is as bad as it has been purported to be, I think you will get a lot of very upset people.’

Manchester Airport has experienced chaotic scenes all week – with new figures revealing 332,000 passengers are booked to fly through the travel-hub over the Jubilee weekend. 

There had been hopes that bosses at Manchester Airport were getting to grips with the staffing crisis which resulted in security queues and disruption earlier in the year. But the scenes emerging from the terminals over recent days have raised questions around how well the hub and its partners are weathering the storm as they emerge from the pandemic. 

Reports include queues which extend into car parks, missing baggage spotted from 1,300 miles away, police rescues after flights failed to take off and even food shortages for those passengers actually able to board their flights. More than 30,000 TUI customers have received messages cancelling their trips, while easyJet and Jet2.com passengers have also been affected.

Last month, Charlie Cornish, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) boss, issued a candid apology, admitting that the staffing crisis – caused by mass redundancies during the pandemic then a sudden surge in passengers when restrictions were lifted – meant service was suffering. Many of the workers who left the hub have now found other jobs.

This year, more than 800 workers have been hired to replace them. Of those, 340 are already on the floor, with a further 500 going through security and background checks. As a result, bosses say that in May, 91 per cent of passengers got through security in less than 30 minutes, and 70 per cent under 15 minutes. They said security queues could still take up to an hour at busy times but that, if passengers arrive three hours early over the coming days, they are confident they will ‘get them through on time’.

But it’s become increasingly clear that the airport’s success relies on a number of moving parts – and that many of those parts aren’t moving as they should. Staffing issues extend beyond the direct management of the hub to its many partners; including airlines like TUI and agents, like Swissport, which deal with baggage handling and check-in – now the major problem areas.

Meanwhile, aviation sources say that, in fact, it’s not hiring that’s the main problem, but that vetting new recruits and issuing passes to get them airside to do their jobs is causing the biggest headache. At Manchester, Swissport currently has around 760 staff, while 782 would be a full team. However, 200 of these workers are on ‘white passes’, meaning they can’t go airside unaccompanied.

These pass delays are, internally, being blamed on the Government. In April, the Department for Transport (DfT) told the Manchester Evening News they were ‘looking at ways’ to help hubs like Manchester Airport speed up background checks for new starters. 

Currently, employers such as Manchester Airport are bound by EU legislation which means they must delve into years of previous employment, a time and resource-consuming task. Westminster was searching for a ‘post-Brexit’ workaround to shorten how far back these searches have to go, potentially fast-tracking this stage of recruitment.

Manchester Airport:  Lengthy queues built up at the check-in area yesterday

Manchester Airport:  Lengthy queues built up at the check-in area yesterday

Heathrow Airport: Passengers wait in a long queue on Wednesday as holidaymakers face huge queues again as Britain's airports are warned to only take carry on bags to avoid their luggage being lost

Heathrow Airport: Passengers wait in a long queue on Wednesday as holidaymakers face huge queues again as Britain’s airports are warned to only take carry on bags to avoid their luggage being lost

St Pancras International: Eurostar services experienced severe delays yesterday following reports of a person who has been hit by a train

St Pancras International: Eurostar services experienced severe delays yesterday following reports of a person who has been hit by a train

Bristol Airport: Queues dominated the check-in area yesterday morning

Bristol Airport: Queues dominated the check-in area yesterday morning

Bristol airport: Hundreds of families Bristol airport this morning

Bristol Airport: Families have been advised to pack light and only take a rucksack of essentials with them to avoid facing further delays and painfully-long queues – meaning they will have to purchase toiletries and clothing while abroad

Bristol Airport: Several disgruntled passengers have taken to social media to complain in recent days about flight cancellations and 'luggage being lost' yesterday

Bristol Airport: Several disgruntled passengers have taken to social media to complain in recent days about flight cancellations and ‘luggage being lost’ yesterday

Manchester Airport: Armed police were also seen patrolling the check-in area at Manchester airport yesterday as the bank holiday Jubilee break begins

Manchester Airport: Armed police were also seen patrolling the check-in area at Manchester airport yesterday as the bank holiday Jubilee break begins

Manchester Airport: Painfully-long queues were seen this morning at Manchester airport early Thursday morning

Manchester Airport: Painfully-long queues were seen this morning at Manchester airport early Thursday morning

Heathrow Airport: Lengthy queues are pictured at Heathrow Airport at the start of the four-day bank holiday weekend Thursday

Heathrow Airport: Lengthy queues are pictured at Heathrow Airport at the start of the four-day bank holiday weekend Thursday 

Heathrow Airport: A busy terminal two at Heathrow Airport this morning amid the ongoing staffing crisis on Thursday

Heathrow Airport: A busy terminal two at Heathrow Airport this morning amid the ongoing staffing crisis on Thursday

Gatwick Airport: Airlines are now struggling to rehire workers previously let go, leading to a shortage of security staff, ground handlers and check-in staff

Gatwick Airport: Airlines are now struggling to rehire workers previously let go, leading to a shortage of security staff, ground handlers and check-in staff

Meanwhile, Jonny Hardy and his fiancée Sophia Raouna bumped into Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi yesterday while queuing at Manchester Airport. 

Mr Hardy posted a picture with the star on Instagram, with the caption: ‘Queues weren’t so bad at Manchester. What a guy.’

It comes after one pilot was forced to call the police to help hundreds of passengers disembark an ‘abandoned’ plane after they were left sat on the runway for three hours due to staff shortages.

Holidaymakers were left onboard the aircraft at Manchester Airport on Monday evening, with the TUI flight due to take-off for Tenerife, before officers were called in by the exasperated crew. 

Families had already been delayed by a few hours in boarding the plane, which was due to depart at 5.50pm, eventually getting into the craft at 7pm.

Ground crew took so long to load luggage that the flight was cancelled, before ‘abandoning’ them on the tarmac. Passengers were then stuck waiting side the hot plane for three hours before being helped off the aircraft by police by 10pm.

Manchester Airport: Police were called to help hundreds of passengers disembark an 'abandoned' plane after they were left sat on the runway for three hours on Monday

Manchester Airport: Police were called to help hundreds of passengers disembark an ‘abandoned’ plane after they were left sat on the runway for three hours on Monday 

Reports include queues which extend into car parks, missing baggage spotted from 1,300 miles away, police rescues after flights failed to take off and even food shortages for those passengers actually able to board their flights. More than 30,000 TUI customers have received messages cancelling their trips, while easyJet and Jet2.com passengers have also been affected.

Last month, Charlie Cornish, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) boss, issued a candid apology, admitting that the staffing crisis – caused by mass redundancies during the pandemic then a sudden surge in passengers when restrictions were lifted – meant service was suffering. Many of the workers who left the hub have now found other jobs.

This year, more than 800 workers have been hired to replace them. Of those, 340 are already on the floor, with a further 500 going through security and background checks. As a result, bosses say that in May, 91 per cent of passengers got through security in less than 30 minutes, and 70 per cent under 15 minutes. They said security queues could still take up to an hour at busy times but that, if passengers arrive three hours early over the coming days, they are confident they will ‘get them through on time’.

But it’s become increasingly clear that the airport’s success relies on a number of moving parts – and that many of those parts aren’t moving as they should. Staffing issues extend beyond the direct management of the hub to its many partners; including airlines like TUI and agents, like Swissport, which deal with baggage handling and check-in – now the major problem areas.

Meanwhile, aviation sources say that, in fact, it’s not hiring that’s the main problem, but that vetting new recruits and issuing passes to get them airside to do their jobs is causing the biggest headache. At Manchester, Swissport currently has around 760 staff, while 782 would be a full team. However, 200 of these workers are on ‘white passes’, meaning they can’t go airside unaccompanied.

These pass delays are, internally, being blamed on the Government. In April, the Department for Transport (DfT) told the Manchester Evening News they were ‘looking at ways’ to help hubs like Manchester Airport speed up background checks for new starters. 

Currently, employers such as Manchester Airport are bound by EU legislation which means they must delve into years of previous employment, a time and resource-consuming task. Westminster was searching for a ‘post-Brexit’ workaround to shorten how far back these searches have to go, potentially fast-tracking this stage of recruitment.

Manchester Airport: Manchester Airport has experienced chaotic scenes all week - with new figures revealing 332,000 passengers are booked to fly through the travel-hub over the Jubilee weekend. There had been hopes that bosses at Manchester Airport were getting to grips with the staffing crisis which resulted in security queues and disruption earlier in the year. But the scenes emerging from the terminals over recent days have raised questions around how well the hub and its partners are weathering the storm as they emerge from the pandemic

Manchester Airport: Manchester Airport has experienced chaotic scenes all week – with new figures revealing 332,000 passengers are booked to fly through the travel-hub over the Jubilee weekend. There had been hopes that bosses at Manchester Airport were getting to grips with the staffing crisis which resulted in security queues and disruption earlier in the year. But the scenes emerging from the terminals over recent days have raised questions around how well the hub and its partners are weathering the storm as they emerge from the pandemic

Manchester Airport: Currently, employers such as Manchester Airport are bound by EU legislation which means they must delve into years of previous employment, a time and resource-consuming task. Westminster was searching for a 'post-Brexit' workaround to shorten how far back these searches have to go, potentially fast-tracking this stage of recruitment

Manchester Airport: Currently, employers such as Manchester Airport are bound by EU legislation which means they must delve into years of previous employment, a time and resource-consuming task. Westminster was searching for a ‘post-Brexit’ workaround to shorten how far back these searches have to go, potentially fast-tracking this stage of recruitment

Manchester Airport: Aviation bosses were yesterday ordered to 'do their bit' and 'run services properly' by the transport secretary amid the ongoing half term travel chaos

Manchester Airport: Aviation bosses were yesterday ordered to ‘do their bit’ and ‘run services properly’ by the transport secretary amid the ongoing half term travel chaos

Shocking scenes from around the country in recent weeks have shown holidaymakers stuck in huge queues with some forced to sleep on the floor of airports amid long delays.

Industry chiefs have pointed the finger at mass layoffs during the pandemic which saw staff let go because of the collapse in demand for travel during the various lockdowns.

Airlines are now struggling to rehire workers previously let go, leading to a shortage of security staff, ground handlers and check-in staff. 

Aviation bosses were yesterday ordered to ‘do their bit’ and ‘run services properly’ by the transport secretary amid the ongoing half term travel chaos.

Speaking at a ‘tense’ urgent meeting on Wednesday, Grant Shapps said while he understands there have been ‘resourcing strains on the aviation sector’, that is ‘no excuse’ for poor planning and overbooked flights, as he pushed for ‘automatic refunds’ for affected passengers and declared: ‘We do not want to see repeat of this over the summer.’

He described scenes at airports with lengthy queues and flight cancellations as ‘heart-breaking’, particularly as some holidaymakers had hoped to take their first trips abroad after the years-long Covid pandemic.  

Meanwhile, a mum said her two children were forced to sleep on the floor at Manchester Airport after Ryanair cancelled their flight.

Kelly Kavanagh and her two children, aged five and three months, were flying back home after a holiday in Lisbon. The family arrived at the airport in Portugal way before their scheduled flight time of 9.15pm on May 31.

But the family didn’t manage to get another flight until over 12 hours later. In the meantime Kelly said the three were forced to sleep on the airport floor without food and water.

Kelly told the Liverpool Echo she’d ‘never had an experience like it’. The 39-year-old from Dingle, Liverpool, said people were ‘left to sleep like dogs on the floor’ with no communication from Ryanair about what was happening and when there next flight might be.

Kelly Kavanagh and her two children, aged five (pictured) and three months, were flying back home after a holiday in Lisbon. The family arrived at the airport in Portugal way before their scheduled flight time of 9.15pm on May 31

Kelly Kavanagh and her two children, aged five (pictured) and three months, were flying back home after a holiday in Lisbon. The family arrived at the airport in Portugal way before their scheduled flight time of 9.15pm on May 31

The family experienced flight issues travelling from Manchester Airport out to Lisbon but were put in a hotel until their next flight. But on the return Kelly said Ryanair ‘acted like they didn’t care’ and people ‘just had to figure out what was happening’.

Kelly said: ‘I was just left to get through the airport carrying a baby, a five-year-old and a car seat. The treatment we were getting just felt so wrong – like there wasn’t a sympathetic bone in their body.

‘It felt like Ryanair were trying to avoid helping as much as possible. We were then left to sleep on the airport floor like dogs with no food or water, nothing to sterilise my baby’s bottles and no communication.

‘It was a good thing I brought extra diapers and baby formula with me. You think as I had a new-born baby there would be an offer of help.’

Kelly said her five-year-old was ‘exhausted’ after sleeping on the floor. She added the young girl had a ‘panic attack’ on the flight home because of the stress of the extended journey.

Kelly finally made it back to Manchester after boarding another flight which was also delayed. She arrived back in the early afternoon on Wednesday.

The mum-of-two added: ‘It just made me feel sick to my stomach to see people sleeping on the floor like that with so little offers of help. There was no communication, no announcements, no information.

‘It’s something I never want to go through again.’

Manchester Airport: Over the Jubilee weekend, 332,000 passengers have booked to fly through Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport: Over the Jubilee weekend, 332,000 passengers have booked to fly through Manchester Airport

Ryanair apologised and said: ‘This flight from Lisbon to Manchester (31 May) was delayed ahead of take-off as the inbound flight was delayed, causing the crew to reach their permitted daily flight hours and prohibiting them to fly back to Manchester that night. Affected customers were notified of the delay via email and received subsequent updates via the Ryanair app.

‘Overnight accommodation was offered to passengers, however, due to limited availability of accommodation in Lisbon, some passengers remained at the airport and were provided with food & drink vouchers. This flight departed the following morning (01 June) at 09:30am. Ryanair sincerely apologised to all customers affected by this delay.’

It comes after more than 150 UK flights were cancelled alone on Wednesday, which saw a blame game emerge between the government and industry leaders – as one trade union told Brits to travel with just a rucksack to avoid any baggage mayhem.

Meanwhile, issues with e-gates at Eurostar in France risked causing further chaos, causing delays to immigration checks for travellers returning to the UK.  

Mr Shapps had earlier said the government had ‘done its bit’ and that companies should have been more prepared, particularly as they were given £8bn in relief to help cope with the predicted surge in bookings. 

But travel firms, trade unions and the Labour Party said the Government had failed to provide enough support to the sector.

Elsewhere, MailOnline revealed yesterday how travel firms were still selling cut-price holidays and flights in June despite scores of such bookings being axed, while families have had trips cancelled even as they boarded planes. 

Speaking at an urgent meeting on Wednesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said while he understands there have been 'resourcing strains on the aviation sector', that is 'no excuse' for poor planning and overbooked flights, as he pushed for 'automatic refunds' for affected passengers

Speaking at an urgent meeting on Wednesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said while he understands there have been ‘resourcing strains on the aviation sector’, that is ‘no excuse’ for poor planning and overbooked flights, as he pushed for ‘automatic refunds’ for affected passengers

Mr Shapps described scenes at airports with lengthy queues and flight cancellations as 'heart-breaking', particularly as some holidaymakers had hoped to take their first trips abroad after the years-long Covid pandemic. (Pictured: Man and woman wait on the floor of Gatwick Airport amid reports of hours-long delays on Wednesday)

Mr Shapps described scenes at airports with lengthy queues and flight cancellations as ‘heart-breaking’, particularly as some holidaymakers had hoped to take their first trips abroad after the years-long Covid pandemic. (Pictured: Man and woman wait on the floor of Gatwick Airport amid reports of hours-long delays on Wednesday)

BRISTOL AIRPORT: Holidaymakers face huge delays at Bristol Airport at 4am on Wednesday as the airport chaos continues

BRISTOL AIRPORT: Holidaymakers face huge delays at Bristol Airport at 4am on Wednesday as the airport chaos continues

Issues with e-gates at Eurostar in France risked causing further chaos, causing delays to immigration checks for travellers returning to the UK. (Pictured: Long queues at St Pancras on Wednesday)

Issues with e-gates at Eurostar in France risked causing further chaos, causing delays to immigration checks for travellers returning to the UK. (Pictured: Long queues at St Pancras on Wednesday) 

Others have been stuck at airports for 48 hours after flights were delayed or had to wait for hours for their luggage to arrive due to a shortage of staff.

On Wednesday, Mr Shapps and aviation minister Robert Courts led what the Department for Transport (DfT) described as a ‘productive meeting’ with senior leaders from the aviation industry including airports, airlines and ground handling companies.

He emphasised to them his concerns that airline passengers are being unfairly sold tickets for holidays they cannot go on, and said he will continue to discuss options for introducing automatic refunds for passengers.

Following the meeting, Mr Shapps warned that there cannot be a repeat of such disruption over the summer.

He said: ‘We’re grateful to those airlines and operators who have continued to deliver good services despite the current pressures and we recognise that not all operators have been affected in the same way.

‘I also understand the resourcing strains on the aviation sector but it does not excuse poor planning and overbooking flights that they cannot service. The companies who have seen the most disruption need to learn from those who ran services smoothly.

‘We will continue to monitor the situation closely to make sure consumers don’t lose out from any further disruption.’

He said he and Mr Courts ‘have made the changes needed to allow the sector to prepare for summer, but now we need industry to do their bit’.

He added: ‘We have been crystal clear – run services properly and according to schedule or provide swift, appropriate compensation. We do not want to see a repeat of this over the summer – the first post-Covid summer season – and will be meeting again in the coming weeks to understand the progress that is being made.’

The chief executive of Airlines UK said the problem is not ‘an airline issue or an airport issue or a Government issue’.

Tim Alderslade said: ‘We want to work collaboratively with ministers to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, in good time for the summer peak, and it was good to discuss options with the Transport Secretary during what was a productive meeting.

‘We ultimately have to work together to solve this. Aviation is a complex eco-system with lots of moving parts and we can’t operate in isolation.

‘This isn’t an airline issue or an airport issue or a Government issue. We’re in this together and we look forward to exploring options with ministers to move the sector forwards as we approach the summer.’

Chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee, described the meeting as a ‘good opportunity to discuss the challenges currently facing airports following the devastating impact of the pandemic’ and to set out how the industry is ‘putting its full effort behind getting passengers away smoothly this weekend and preparing for the summer’.

Those in attendance at the meeting included British Airways, easyJet and TUI Airways.

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