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No end in sight: 15,000 passengers are expected to be hit by cancelled flights today

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Holidaymakers faced more three-hour queues as airport chaos continued this morning – as British Airways cancelled 74 flights and EasyJet axed 52.

Most of BA’s had already been planned and announced while the orange-coloured rival carriers were all shorthaul journeys.

In queues Manchester Airport appeared to be the worst hit again and is said to have recruited an extra 220 staff to try and cope with a shortage of workers.

But red tape rules on getting them cleared to start was taking longer than usual – meaning the problems continue short-term.

And an industry-wide lack of cabin crew mean problems are expected to continue for at least three weeks.

Saturday has been dubbed ‘crunch day’ as passengers have been told to brace for the worst with numbers trying to travel predicted to peak.

Management have been said to have been left ‘playing Tetris’ with crew rotas to try and solve the problem, The Times reported.

This morning Manchester Airport users bemoaned the length of the delays.

Ayman Fazeli wrote alongside an image of long lines, declaring: ‘Manchester Airport T1 at 4am. If you thought it would be quieter at that time, think again. Arrive early.’

Mattia Vitale added: ‘Security check looked huge today at 4.30am at Manchester Airport. Allow yourself +3h before departure if not with fasttrack and please be kind with the staff.’

Rich James revealed: ‘4.15am and already queuing outside for security at Manchester Airport.’ 

Manchester Airport has been the worst hit by the delays and a loss of staff to deal with the increasing problems

Holidaymakers have been warned to brace for the Saturday from hell as airport and port bosses brace for a surge in passenger numbers leading to the busiest day of the year so far. Pictured: Huge queues of passengers at Heathrow Terminal 2

Holidaymakers have been warned to brace for the Saturday from hell as airport and port bosses brace for a surge in passenger numbers leading to the busiest day of the year so far. Pictured: Huge queues of passengers at Heathrow Terminal 2

Queues to even get into Manchester Airport were posted this morning in the early hours by one frustrated Twitter user

Queues to even get into Manchester Airport were posted this morning in the early hours by one frustrated Twitter user

There appeared to be large numbers waiting to get through security at Manchester as staff problems continued today

There appeared to be large numbers waiting to get through security at Manchester as staff problems continued today

Users of Twitter posted new pictures of the appalling queues and said passengers needed to arrive early to get their planes

Users of Twitter posted new pictures of the appalling queues and said passengers needed to arrive early to get their planes

56321993 10694825 image m 53 1649313338005 56322031 10694825 image m 54 1649313347342 Ahead of the predicted 'crunch Saturday' there appeared to be little sign of some of the queues being alleviated in time

Ahead of the predicted ‘crunch Saturday’ there appeared to be little sign of some of the queues being alleviated in time 

There has also been travel chaos at Manchester Airport with huge queues for departures leading to families missing flights

There has also been travel chaos at Manchester Airport with huge queues for departures leading to families missing flights

Works will hit Tube and rail on Easter weekend

Millions of travellers face an Easter Bank Holiday getaway nightmare of disruption and spiralling prices on trains, planes and the roads.

Large swathes of the rail network will close for £83million-worth of engineering works over the busy four-day weekend.

More than 500 signalling and track upgrade projects across the country include the closure of London’s Euston and Victoria stations to most services.

It will cause chaos for the thousands of football fans travelling to the FA Cup semi-finals, between Manchester City and Liverpool and Chelsea and Crystal Palace, at Wembley stadium.

Trains into London from the North West and West Midlands will instead stop at Milton Keynes Central, meaning other routes into the capital face being overwhelmed.

The FA is urging fans from the North to avoid the railways and use specially laid-on buses or travel before the weekend instead.

All Southern trains between London Victoria and East Croydon have been axed, also causing havoc for air passengers landing at or trying to reach Gatwick Airport.

It means passengers on trains diverted via London Bridge face chaos.

London Underground services on the Piccadilly line to Britain’s busiest airport, Heathrow, will be suspended while buses will also replace trains for part of the journey between the capital and Stansted Airport.

Yesterday,  British Airways axed at least 78 flights to and from Heathrow, while easyJet called off at least 30 at Gatwick.

Airports have been advising customers to check with their airline to see when they should arrive, with some insisting passengers arrive as early as three hours ahead of their departure time but no earlier – to prevent queues. 

Meanwhile, at Manchester Airport where staffing shortages have also lead to huge disruption, Greater Manchester Police are being drafted in, as well as temporary staff, in a bid to make the weekend go as smoothly as possible.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson however ruled out his officers ‘doing baggage handling type tasks’. 

The Chief Constable said: ‘We’ve already put extra police officers in over the weekend.

‘Of course, you wouldn’t expect to see police officers doing baggage handling type tasks, and there’s no prospect of that, because that’s not what we’ve been asked to do.

‘We’ve got a lot of people who through no fault of their own are stood in very long queues and sometimes some frustration manifests itself. And so we have increased our presence such as to just make sure that people keep calm heads on the situation.

‘I do know that between us certainly the airport authorities, the mayor, and all manner of people are acting in good faith to try and bring resolution to these problems.

‘But we are a key partner in assisting with the security element [of] what happens at the airport, and we’re willing to step in to do whatever we can to get over this hump.

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham yesterday warned chaos at the city’s airport could last two months. He asked ministers to prioritise security checks for new staff. 

The disruption is set to last for months and will be compounded by rail engineering works on the four day Easter weekend next week.

Large swathes of the rail network will close for £83million-worth of engineering works over the busy four-day weekend.

More than 500 signalling and track upgrade projects across the country include the closure of London’s Euston and Victoria stations to most services.

Trains into London from the North West and West Midlands will instead stop at Milton Keynes Central, meaning other routes into the capital face being overwhelmed. 

On Tuesday, Karen Smart, managing director of the Manchester Airports Group – which is responsible for Manchester, East Midlands and Stansted Airports – resigned her post to ‘pursue fresh career opportunities.

Pictured: Passengers at Birmingham Airport also saw huge queues for people waiting to get through security this week

Pictured: Passengers at Birmingham Airport also saw huge queues for people waiting to get through security this week

There was already chaos as early as 5.30am at Manchester Airport this week and it is expected to be worse on Saturday

There was already chaos as early as 5.30am at Manchester Airport this week and it is expected to be worse on Saturday

A view of lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent as freight delays continue at the Port of Dover

A view of lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent as freight delays continue at the Port of Dover

It comes as customers of the disgraced P&O Ferries channel crossing operator face having their Easter holidays ruined after fully-booked rivals said they cannot honour their tickets from Dover to France this weekend.

Anyone with a ticket from P&O has been able to travel with DFDS, one of Europe’s largest shipping operators, over the past few weeks.

This came as a result of the company suspending its services after it sacked 800 crew members last month and is in the process of replacing them with cheaper agency staff.

But this mutual agreement is coming to an end on Friday, leaving ticketholders rushing to get refunds from P&O and rebook with its competitor.

This could lead to further queues and this morning there were gridlocked roads around the Port of Dover, following three-hour waits last Saturday owing to fewer services in the wake of the redundancy debacle. 

The disruption at airports and docks across the country has caused chaos for families seeking to enjoy a trip away without Covid restrictions for the first time in two years.

Passengers have complained that their flights have been cancelled at last minute or that they have been put on alternative flights, leading to added expenses or shortening their holidays.

A Lancashire family was deprived of their holiday and left £1,500 out of pocket after they missed their flights due to ongoing chaos at Manchester Airport – and this despite their plane returning to the runway only to be told they couldn’t take their seats.

Staff shortages have hit every team at airports including baggage handlers leading to passengers to abandon them

Staff shortages have hit every team at airports including baggage handlers leading to passengers to abandon them

Pictured: A DFDS ferry passes the P&O Ferries the Pride of Kent (left) and the Pride of Canterbury (right) moored at the Port of Dover in Kent, as the latter's services remain suspended following P&O Ferries sacking 800 workers without notice

Pictured: A DFDS ferry passes the P&O Ferries the Pride of Kent (left) and the Pride of Canterbury (right) moored at the Port of Dover in Kent, as the latter’s services remain suspended following P&O Ferries sacking 800 workers without notice

Michelle Donohue, 32, planned a four day trip to Rome with husband Robert and their 12-year-old son.

The family were due to fly out from Manchester Airport on Tuesday via the 7.15am Ryanair service. Knowing the current situation at the airport, they planned to get to the airport just over four hours earlier after leaving home at 3am.

But upon arrival, they were instantly greeted with the ‘nightmare’ view of endless queues and, after queuing for four and a half hours, they were told they could not board their flight because the gate closed minutes before they got there. 

Michelle and her husband paid £1500 for the flights and while they were able to get refunds to the activities booked in Rome, her travel insurance won’t be able to pay out for the flight due to the unprecedented circumstances of why she missed the flight. Instead, it is now up to her to complete a complaints form and contact Manchester Airport.

A spokesperson for Manchester Airport said: ‘We apologise to passengers whose experience at Manchester Airport in recent days has fallen short of the standard they expected.

‘Our industry is facing challenges in scaling operations back up very quickly after the removal of Covid restrictions, which have done immense damage to our sector over the past two years.

‘We are actively recruiting for hundreds of new roles in areas including security, but are advising passengers that due to a shortage of staff, they may have to wait for longer than they are used to in the coming weeks, and that they should arrive at the earliest time recommended by their airline.

‘We understand that airlines and third-party service providers on our site are facing similar challenges and are working with them to provide the best possible experience that we can in the circumstances.’ 

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One passenger told MailOnline: ‘I arrived 36 hours late to my ski holiday in the French Alps because BA cancelled our flight to Grenoble.

‘To make matters worse they managed to leave my bag in London so I then had to spend a morning cobbling together something to ski in.

‘So a 6 day ski holiday was reduced to 4.5. Three days in, my bag still hasn’t been returned to me. I’ve heard nothing from BA as to its whereabouts so I’m having to borrow clothes from my family to wear each evening. For a holiday that has been postponed for two years it’s very disappointing.’

Other passengers have similarly complained about airlines rebooking their inbound departures a day earlier, with one customer writing on Twitter: ‘Outraged with @easyJet right now.

‘It’s one thing to cancel my flight and rebook me a day earlier, but to charge me £30 extra just to get the cabin bag and legroom I’d already paid for on the initial flight is pretty despicable.’

Meanwhile, another person experienced their outbound flight being rebooked at an earlier time, incurring additional hotel costs. 

They wrote: ‘@easyJet – you cancelled my flight to see my dad who I haven’t seen in 16 years. You have booked me on an earlier flight. I have to take out extra accommodation (one extra night). Will you cover this cost?’ 

A spokesperson for easyJet said: ‘When a flight is unfortunately cancelled, we sometimes proactively rebook customers on to an alternative flight within 24 hours of their original departure, to try and get them to their destination as soon as possible. 

‘If this alternative is not suitable, customers are also provided with the option to rebook onto a different flight, or take a refund or a voucher if they would prefer, along with guidance on how to do this quickly and easily online. We are very sorry for any inconvenience experienced by affected customers.’ 

56293317 10694825 image a 37 1649315321261 56293319 10692309 image a 61 1649254856180

 

56293499 10692309 image a 11 1649255748617 56293493 10692309 image a 13 1649255750228 56293487 10694825 image a 39 1649315321283 56293489 10692309 image a 1 1649255976237 Other passengers have similarly complained about the airline rebooking their inbound and outbound departures a day earlier

Other passengers have similarly complained about the airline rebooking their inbound and outbound departures a day earlier

Travellers shared pictures on social media of long lines forming at some of Britain’s busiest airports earlier today, with one sharing a video at 1.50am of crowds waiting at UK Border Control in Stansted. 

He wrote: ‘Terrible arrival into Stansted Airport 45 mins ago. Very slow queue and loads of people behind too.’

Tweeting a picture of two lengthy queues, another flyer said: ‘If it’s helpful this is what Birmingham Airport security queue looks like at 4.10am today! Estimated 10-15 mins wait.’

Over 1,140 flights were grounded at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham in the week up to April 3 – with EasyJet and British Airways also cutting 60 and 98 flights respectively yesterday.  

It comes after John O’Neill, North West Regional Industrial Officer for the trade union Unite, said officials met management at Manchester Airport on Tuesday to discuss pay. 

He warned: ‘Summer is going to be far worse than this. It is the time to get everything in place otherwise summer is going to very difficult.’

And Karen Smart was forced to resign as managing director of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, after just two years in the post.

Manchester Airport management were due to meet political leaders and unions to discuss the ongoing situation, after Blackley and Broughton MP Graham Stringer challenged them to ‘get a grip or get out’.

Pictured: Long queues as passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 for the Easter holidays earlier this week

Pictured: Long queues as passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 for the Easter holidays earlier this week

British Airways axed at least 78 flights scheduled to and from Heathrow for Wednesday, while easyJet called off at least 30 at Gatwick. Pictured: passengers queuing at Heathrow Terminal 2 today

British Airways axed at least 78 flights scheduled to and from Heathrow for Wednesday, while easyJet called off at least 30 at Gatwick. Pictured: passengers queuing at Heathrow Terminal 2 today

Over 1,140 flights were grounded at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham in the week up to April 3. Pictured: Pilots and airline staff waiting at London's Heathrow Airport today

Over 1,140 flights were grounded at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham in the week up to April 3. Pictured: Pilots and airline staff waiting at London’s Heathrow Airport today

EasyJet cancels more than 220 flights due to Covid staff shortages to leave some passengers stranded amid airport chaos

EasyJet has cancelled more than 220 flights, blaming the disruption on high levels of staff sickness due to Covid.

At least 222 flights have been axed since Friday, including 62 that had been scheduled for Monday alone, the majority of which were cancelled at short notice on Saturday.

Covid infection numbers are some of the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic. 

An EasyJet spokesperson said yesterday: ‘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.’

They said the focus was on ‘consolidating flights where we have multiple frequencies so customers have more options to rebook their travel, often on the same day.’

They added: ‘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.

‘We have made 62 preemptive cancellations for flights to and from the UK for tomorrow which represents a small proportion tomorrow’s total flying programme which was planned to be more than 1645 flights. 

‘We cancelled the majority of these yesterday.’

And unions are warning that the carnage is set to go on throughout the summer because of the delays in processing counter-terror checks needed for new airport staff, with some said to be taking 30 weeks instead of the usual 14 to 15 while civil servants WFH.

In a statement, MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish said: ‘Over the last two years, Karen has guided Manchester Airport through the most challenging period of its 84-year history, having made a major contribution to MAG throughout her time with the business.

‘I am sorry to lose Karen after her years of valuable service, but also understand her desire to return to the South for family reasons and indeed to explore new career opportunities.

‘While there are sure to be further challenges ahead, I am confident we will soon start to see the benefits of the recovery plans Karen has helped put in place and look forward to working with Ian and his leadership team to drive them forward.’

On Tuesday, passengers at Manchester were spotted jumping over barriers and abandoning their luggage in a desperate attempt to make their flights, according to Nicky Kelvin, head of travel website Points Guy UK. 

Meanwhile at Heathrow, a male passenger in his early 30s collapsed while queueing as staff shortages left people waiting four hours to clear passport control.

Eyewitness Jessica Oliver told MailOnline: ‘I just walked past and he was on the floor. There were people helping him – I don’t know if it was dehydration or very low blood sugar, but it’s very hot and staff are handing out water bottles. It was also chaotic at Amsterdam, but I’ve never seen anything like this.’

The man’s current condition is unknown and Heathrow Airport has been contacted for an update.

To reduce the impact on passengers, most cancellations are being made at least a day in advance and on routes with multiple daily flights, so passengers can be offered alternative departures.

British Airways said many of its cancellations include flights cut as part of its decision last month to reduce its schedule until the end of May.

Travellers also took to social media to share photos of huge queues stretching up to four hours long yesterday, with one person writing: ‘Chaos at Heathrow Airport arrivals. Some people have been standing here for the past four hours and the queues are not moving. What is causing the disruption?’.

Another passenger added: ‘Three hour plus clearing immigrations wait at Terminal 3 for under two hours European flight!! Still nowhere near through. No one giving any updates!’. 

Unions are warning the carnage is set to go on throughout the summer because of the delays in processing counter-terror checks needed for new airport staff. Pictured: Heathrow Terminal 2 as families try and get away for the Easter holidays today

Unions are warning the carnage is set to go on throughout the summer because of the delays in processing counter-terror checks needed for new airport staff. Pictured: Heathrow Terminal 2 as families try and get away for the Easter holidays today

At Heathrow yesterday, a male passenger in his early 30s collapsed while queueing as staff shortages left people waiting four hours to clear passport control. Pictured: Passengers are seen queuing with their luggage at Heathrow this morning

At Heathrow yesterday, a male passenger in his early 30s collapsed while queueing as staff shortages left people waiting four hours to clear passport control. Pictured: Passengers are seen queuing with their luggage at Heathrow this morning

Passengers took to social media early today to share pictures of long lines already forming at some of Britain's busiest airports, with one traveller sharing a video (above) at 1.50am of crowds waiting at UK Border Control in Stansted

Passengers took to social media early today to share pictures of long lines already forming at some of Britain’s busiest airports, with one traveller sharing a video (above) at 1.50am of crowds waiting at UK Border Control in Stansted

Travellers face chaos at Britain’s busiest airports including Heathrow (pictured yesterday), Gatwick and Manchester

Travellers face chaos at Britain’s busiest airports including Heathrow (pictured yesterday), Gatwick and Manchester

More than 1,140 flights have been grounded at a number of major airports including Manchester (pictured yesterday)

More than 1,140 flights have been grounded at a number of major airports including Manchester (pictured yesterday)

The unprecedented bedlam is being blamed on ‘staffing shortages and recruitment challenges’ (Gatwick pictured yesterday)

The unprecedented bedlam is being blamed on ‘staffing shortages and recruitment challenges’ (Gatwick pictured yesterday)

Manchester, pictured yesterday, the UK’s third busiest airport, has been mired in chaos in recent weeks

Manchester, pictured yesterday, the UK’s third busiest airport, has been mired in chaos in recent weeks

Stepping down: Karen Smart resigned as managing director of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, after just two years in the post, the company confirmed  on Tuesday afternoon

Stepping down: Karen Smart resigned as managing director of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, after just two years in the post, the company confirmed  on Tuesday afternoon

P&O Ferries customers face having their Easter holidays ruined

P&O Ferries customers face having their Easter holidays ruined after fully-booked rivals said they cannot honour their tickets from Dover to France this weekend.

Anyone with a ticket from P&O has been able to travel with DFDS, one of Europe’s largest shipping operators, over the past few weeks.

But this mutual agreement is coming to an end on Friday, leaving ticketholders rushing to get refunds from P&O and rebook with its competitor.

This could lead to further queues and gridlocked roads around the Port of Dover, following three-hour waits last Saturday owing to fewer services in the wake of the redundancy debacle. 

In a tweet shared yesterday afternoon, P&O Ferries wrote: ‘All P&O Ferries Passenger Services are suspended this weekend. 

‘For travel 8/9/10th April please re-book directly with another operator before arriving at the port. 

‘DFDS will not be able to transfer P&O customers onto their services.’  

And while sat in Terminal 5 at Heathrow, Hannah Swales told MailOnline about her ‘shambolic’ return flight from Dubai.

She said: ‘We were delayed from Dubai for three hours and then had to be rebooked on the ‘next available flight’. We were to stay in Heathrow Airport with no luggage and no access to medication in our luggage.’

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘Airlines are certainly seeing a high level of demand to fly, but are simply unable to cope with that demand due to a lack of resources. It’s a nightmare situation for airlines and airports at the moment.’

Martin Chalk, general secretary of the pilots’ union Balpa, also told The Telegraph: ‘The chaos witnessed at British airports may well be repeated throughout the summer because airlines, laden with debt… have not yet rehired enough staff.’

The rise in bookings is overtaking the number of airline staff being hired, which is being further exacerbated by security checks.

An industry source further blamed the vetting process, saying it can take up to six months before someone is able to come in and do a job at an airport.

But a spokesperson for the Department for Transport (DfT) contended the ‘aviation industry is responsible for resourcing at airports’, adding: ‘They manage their staff absences, although we want to see minimal disruption for passengers during the Easter period.

‘The requirement for Counter Terrorist Checks for aviation security staff is important for the protection of the travelling public and the Government continues to process these security clearances in a timely manner.’

There were also reports of travel chaos at Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Monday, as well as long delays at Dover and a train blockage in the Channel Tunnel.

Heathrow warned passengers of possible delays, tweeting: ‘We continue to advise passengers arrive 3 hours prior to their scheduled departure time as we are not able to estimate queue times ahead of journeys, due to them being influenced by a significant range of factors.’ 

The carnage is set to go on throughout the summer because of the delays in processing counter-terror checks needed for new airport staff, with some said to be taking 30 weeks instead of the usual 14 to 15 while civil servants work from home

The carnage is set to go on throughout the summer because of the delays in processing counter-terror checks needed for new airport staff, with some said to be taking 30 weeks instead of the usual 14 to 15 while civil servants work from home

Passengers queue early on Tuesday for security at Manchester Airport's Terminal 1, as travel chaos continues at airports

Passengers queue early on Tuesday for security at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1, as travel chaos continues at airports

Long queues seen yesterday as passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 2 for the start of their Easter holiday

Long queues seen yesterday as passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2 for the start of their Easter holiday

Huge queues for security at Manchester Airport Huge queues for security at Manchester Airport

The latest figures show British Airways cancelled 662 flights while easyJet axed 357 last week, according to data from Cirium

Eurotunnel passengers face three-hour delays after train is halted in the Channel Tunnel 

Eurotunnel passengers face a three hour delay on Monday morning due a train being halted in the Channel Tunnel.

Eurotunnel – the vehicle carrying railway tunnel that connects Folkestone with Coquelles beneath the English Channel – is reporting a three hour delay to services. 

The travel firm, which is separate from the passenger-only Eurostar service, said it was due to a train stopped in the tunnel. 

‘Due to a train stopped temporarily in the tunnel, our service is currently experiencing delays. Please check-in as planned. Apologies for this,’ Eurotunnel said on Twitter.

Passenger service Eurostar, which operates trains between London St Pancras and Europe, and which uses the same tunnels, also has delays, according to its website though has yet to post any updates on its Twitter page. 

A delay warning on its website says: ‘Your train has been delayed because part of the track is temporarily closed in the Channel Tunnel. Speed restrictions are in place. We are sorry for the impact this may have on your plans.’

Long queues were also reported at Birmingham from 7.45am this week, with one passenger warning others to ‘get here early’. Another traveller, Luka Beckett, said she was ‘trapped’ on a grounded plane for 40 minutes on Sunday due to a lack of staff.

She told Birmingham Live: ‘We should have been home at around 10pm, but got in sometime after midnight. It was horrific.’

This follows a week of reported mass disruption with more than 1,100 flights cancelled throughout the UK. In the week up to April 3, a total of 1,143 flights were cancelled from and to the UK compared with just 197 flights cancelled the same week in 2019.

The latest figures show British Airways cancelled 662 flights while EasyJet axed 357 last week, according to data from Cirium, which carries out aviation analysis.

But some of these totals are based on historical cancellations and were flights axed months ago while airlines have claimed they represent a small percentage of their total flights.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Mr Stringer, the former leader of Manchester Council and chairman of the airport board, said: ‘Covid has made life difficult for everyone in the aviation industry. The way to respond to that is by good employment procedures and not by casualisation, effectively using fire and rehire. The airport needs to reset and pay above the market rate to stabilise the situation and give confidence to employees and the travelling public.’

On Monday, Manchester Airport chiefs apologised for ‘falling short’ following long delays over the weekend.

Meanwhile, pictures showed long queues at Heathrow, with airport bosses blaming a huge spike in passenger numbers. Heathrow chiefs say passenger numbers have now reached pre-pandemic levels, with Saturday being the first school holidays since the start of the pandemic with no travel restrictions in place in England.

Bosses at Gatwick also said passengers numbers were returning to 2019 levels at the Sussex airport and that while there were some check-in queues that it was generally ‘coping well’ with the increase in footfall.

One travel expert estimated that there had ‘probably been more resignations in the last three months’ than during the Covid crisis because staff were ‘worn out’. Another warned disruption at airports such as Manchester could last for ‘months’, with firms having to train new staff to deal with the post-Covid increase in demand.

Bosses of the company behind Manchester Airport, which is in the same group as Stansted and East Midlands Airport, said it had seen a 1,300 percent increase increase in passenger numbers in February – compared to the previous year when the country was in lockdown.

Pictures taken at Manchester Airport on Monday showed long queues of people attempting to get through to security.

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Passengers also bemoaned a lack of organisation at the check-in, with long queues also seen at the check-in desk. In a tongue-in-cheek Twitter post, one frustrated traveller described a snaking queue at the airport as a world record attempt at the ‘world’s slowest, longest conga line’.

Meanwhile, millions of travellers face an Easter Bank Holiday getaway nightmare of disruption and spiralling prices on trains, planes and the roads.

Large swathes of the rail network will close for £83million-worth of engineering works over the busy four-day weekend.

More than 500 signalling and track upgrade projects across the country include the closure of London’s Euston and Victoria stations to most services.

It will cause chaos for the thousands of football fans travelling to the FA Cup semi-finals, between Manchester City and Liverpool and Chelsea and Crystal Palace, at Wembley stadium.

Trains into London from the North West and West Midlands will instead stop at Milton Keynes Central, meaning other routes into the capital face being overwhelmed.

The FA is urging fans from the North to avoid the railways and use specially laid-on buses or travel before the weekend instead.

All Southern trains between London Victoria and East Croydon have been axed, also causing havoc for air passengers landing at or trying to reach Gatwick Airport.

It means passengers on trains diverted via London Bridge face chaos.

London Underground services on the Piccadilly line to Britain’s busiest airport, Heathrow, will be suspended while buses will also replace trains for part of the journey between the capital and Stansted Airport.

London Tube closures on the District, Hammersmith & City, Northern and Docklands Light Railway lines will also make it harder travelling around the capital. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10694825/No-end-sight-15-000-passengers-expected-hit-cancelled-flights-today.html