Wait times at Heathrow for arriving passengers were already horrendous at times. With the airport short of around 12,000 staff and a holiday period on the way, this won't get prettier.
Airline passengers were warned on Saturday to expect long waits at British airports over the Easter holiday period due to a chronic shortage of check-in staff and security personnel.
“We do think that there will be queues at peak times over the Easter period,” Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, told the BBC.
She said the industry needed to recruit “tens of thousands” of staff as it scales-up after Britain’s COVID-19 restrictions on travel were removed.
London’s Heathrow airport alone needed another 12,000 staff, she said.
“We’ve started this process some time a go, but actually with those scale of numbers, particularly in a tight labour market, it is going to take us some time unfortunately,” she added.
Lorries and motorists are also facing long delays to board ferries at the Port of Dover.
Cross-channel ferry capacity between Dover and the French port of Calais has been disrupted after P&O Ferries services were suspended following its sacking of 800 workers last month. The company is yet to be given clearance to resume sailings using cheaper agency staff.
Poor weather overnight has made the situation worse.
“We are aware of queues at Dover, and the Kent Resilience Forum and local partners are working to minimise any disruption by deploying temporary traffic management measures,” the Department for Transport said in a statement.
“This has been caused by a number of factors, including severe weather in the Channel.”
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Mike Harrison)
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Photo credit: Expect longer waits at Heathrow. In this July 29, 2020 photo, passengers from international flights arrive at Heathrow Airport, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Toby Melville / Reuters