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Travel disruption: Gatwick cancels flights over summer, latest from UK airports, rail strikes warning

Air and rail passengers are facing a summer of travel chaos

Passengers are facing a summer of travel chaos as flights continue to be cancelled at UK airports and the rail system is set to come to a grinding halt due to a series of strikes.

Gatwick Airport has announced that the number of daily flights will be reduced over the busy summer period to help tackle staffing shortages.

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The airport delivered a reported 900 daily flights during the summer in previous years, however it will be reduced to 825 in July and 850 in August.

It warned that if the issue was not addressed, passengers could experience queues, delays and cancellations.

Gatwick has not been the only airport impacted by travel disruption, with cancellations, delays and long queues also seen across the UK.

A NationalWorld investigation found that Doncaster Sheffield airport had the highest rate of delays in the first three months of the year.

Why are flights being cancelled?

Passengers are facing a summer of travel chaos as flights continue to be cancelled at UK airports and the rail system is set to come to a grinding halt due to a series of strikes (NationalWorld / Mark Hall)

Airline passengers have been hit by disruption for several months, with it worsening during half-term week due to the rise in demand sparked by the school holiday and the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend.

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

Airlines UK, the industry body for UK airlines, said that 30,000 jobs have been cut since the start of the pandemic.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary also said that Brexit had made it more difficult for the industry to bring in European workers to help fill the vacancies.

Airport staff also need security clearance to be able to do their jobs and there have been reports that this vetting process has been taking longer than usual.

What’s happening with the rail strikes?

It is not just air passengers who have been impacted by disruption, thousands of rail workers are set to hold a series of strikes which will cause delays and cancellations for people travelling by train.

Up to 50,000 members of staff are set to stage three days of walkouts in a dispute with rail bosses over pay, redundancy and safety concerns.

The strikes will be held on 21, 23 and 25 June and will affect routes across England, Scotland and Wales.

Network Rail said that half of all lines will be completely shut on strike days.

However, the walkouts are also expected to severely impact services for that entire week.

A revised emergency timetable is expected to be published in the coming days which will show the full impact of the strike on services.

Latest updates as travel disruption hits the UK

Last updated: Friday, 17 June, 2022, 13:50

Full list of cancellations at Gatwick today

Gatwick has announced that hundreds of flights will be cut from its summer schedule as the airport grapples with staffing issues.

There have also been cancellations at the airport today - see the full list of cancelled flights here.

How Liverpool Airport has avoided significant disruption

Our colleagues at LiverpoolWorld have been to Liverpool John Lennon Airport to see how they have largely avoided the large queues seen at other UK airports.

Some airport staff could work longer if they wanted to - business minister

A business minister has suggested that some airport staff could work longer hours if they wanted to amid travel chaos across the UK.

Paul Scully told Sky News there are 1.3 million vacancies across the country in various sectors but there are also “people who have recalibrated what they want to do when they were on furlough”.

He also said he wanted to make it possible that “people who can work longer – that want to work longer – can do”.

List of flight cancellations across UK airports

It’s not just Gatwick Airport that is experiencing flight delays and cancellations.

There have also been cancelled flights at other UK airports including Bristol, Luton and Manchester.

More railway workers to be balloted for strikes

Away from air travel chaos, more railway workers are set to be balloted for strikes in escalating disputes over pay and jobs.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) served notice to ballot hundreds of workers at Southeastern, saying it was demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which reflects the rising cost of living.

The ballot opens on June 23 and closes on July 11, so action could start from July 25.

The news comes ahead of strikes by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on Network Rail (NR) and 13 train operators on June 21, 23 and 25 and a walkout on London Underground on the 21st.

No 10 ‘calls on the unions’ to cancel next week’s rail strikes

Downing Street said it continues to “call on the unions” to call off next week’s rail strikes but was not planning on ministers taking part in last-ditch negotiations.

“It is in the hands of the unions to call off strikes next week.

“We continue to call on the unions to call them off.

“Obviously ministers remain close to the ongoing situation with regard to what are live discussions.

“But as we have made clear, we are not the employers in this case and we can’t intervene in the negotiations between rail companies and the unions. But what we want to see is unions get back round the table with their employer and call off the strikes next week.”

No 10 spokesman
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