Travel chaos: UK 'worst affected' says Simon Calder
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Passengers at Heathrow have faced some disruption this morning as 30 flights were removed from the schedule at late notice. Simon told the BBC it was a “surprise”.
Simon said: “It’s a really interesting turn of events, not least because it’s normally Fridays that are the really busy days here at Heathrow.
“So when we learnt that 30 flights were going to be cancelled, it was quite a surprise.
“The airport says their figures show there were going to be 13 percent more passengers today than last Thursday.
“They thought that in order to make everyone safe, they had to whittle down the number of passengers so they cancelled about one in 40 flights.”
Heathrow has said it hopes that passengers will be put on other departures and should have been contacted by their airline.
Simon said that British Airways made around 15 cancellations with Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Lufthansa and Aer Lingus also affected.
While travel has been disrupted across Europe, Simon said Britons are being most affected.
He said: “In terms of European aviation, the UK is worst affected. That’s partly because it was more deeply restricted by the travel restrictions during Covid and has bounced back quicker than other countries.
“But yes, you’re also seeing problems at Amsterdam Airport in particular for security queues.
“They’ve just put out an appeal, saying ‘don’t turn up more than four hours before your flight’.”
Passengers at Amsterdam Airport have been met with lengthy queues with some travellers turning up five hours early.
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport has also had multiple issues this morning due to firefighter strikes.
The Government has just launched a 22 point plan to deal with disruption in the aviation industry.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Holidaymakers deserve certainty ahead of their first summer getaways free of travel restrictions.
“While it’s never going to be possible to avoid every single delay or cancellation, we’ve been working closely with airports and airlines to make sure they are running realistic schedules.
“It’s now on airports and airlines to commit to running the flights they’ve promised or cancel them with plenty of time to spare so we can avoid the kind of scenes we saw at Easter and half term.
“With 100 days having passed since we set out that restrictions would be eased, there’s simply no excuse for widespread disruption.”
However Simon said: “I’ve been looking at this plan and I’ve checked and I can’t see anything new in it at all.”
He warned: “This is getting to be the pattern for the summer, good luck everybody!”
Despite the disruption, the majority of British tourists are expected to get away without major issues this summer.
Several airlines including easyJet, Wizz Air and British Airways have made cancellations in advance to avoid last minute mess.
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