Flight cancellations, queues in Dover and tube closures threaten to put a damper on holiday plans over the Easter weekend.
The UK’s infrastructure is struggling to cope with an influx of passengers wanting to get away for the Easter holidays, causing thousands of flight cancellations and major delays at the UK’s busiest transport hubs.
Airlines are ready to pay out a £100million compensation bill to passengers facing disruption in the run-up to Easter, the Telegraph first reported.
Nearly 1,200 flights have been canceled in the past seven days, and a similar number is likely to be canceled over the next week as airports struggle with staff shortages and rising passenger numbers.
Civil Aviation Authority chief Richard Moriarty has urged airlines to plan flights “on a basis that is deliverable given available staff and offers resilience to staff illness, including Covid”, amid scenes of huge queues Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester airports.
Meanwhile, the cessation of P&O ferry services has reduced capacity at the Channel Crossing, resulting in huge queues at Dover Port. Rival ferry operator DFDS, which operates 54 daily sailings to France, told City AM the company increased capacity by half a dozen vessels this weekend and is poised to do so again over the Easter holidays.
“It’s been a very busy weekend, with passenger numbers up 50 percent over last weekend,” commented DFDS Director Chris Parker, who commended staff for their quick work to “clear the backlog of trucks and ensure that.” vacationers could escape. ”
“We are expecting another busy weekend over the Easter holidays and will continue to do everything we can to keep traffic flowing on our routes,” continued Parker.
Londoners could also be caught up in the travel disruption as key sections of major Tube lines are set to close.
The Hammersmith & City Line will not operate over the Easter weekend and large sections of the District Line are to be cancelled. The Piccadilly Line will cease carrying passengers from Acton Town to Heathrow Airport and from Rayners Lane to Uxbridge amid track work. Other sections of the northern runway, which is partially closed due to construction work, will also be shut down.
TFL Chief Operating Officer Andy Lord has advised customers to check before traveling, adding that despite some closures “the majority of the public transport network will be open over the Easter weekend”.
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