Skift Breaking News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Heathrow Airport Gets Caught Up in Another Storm

2 months ago

Airports can do no right at the moment, caught between passengers baying for blood and airlines that just want to fly people.

On Friday Frankfurt Airport became the latest hub to cut flights in a bid to ease delays and cancellations.

But London’s Heathrow, which is the UK’s biggest airport, is under fire for taking action it hopes will improve operations.

As Emirates rejects its passenger cap, one UK-based association has called Heathrow’s plan an “outrage.”

“The Heathrow passenger cap is an outrage for business and leisure travelers,” said Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association. “The arbitrary daily passenger number has been selected done without consultation with airlines and the wider travel community. This is a betrayal of all UK travelers, leaving airlines, travel management companies and travel agents to pick up the pieces.”

He called for Heathrow to be more “transparent about their problems.”

Two UK government bodies, the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority, have also requested John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s CEO, provides a “credible” recovery plan to get the airport back to business, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the Global Business Travel Association is putting pressure on the European Commission to address staff shortages.

It argued “business travel momentum” was being threatened because the current six-week background checks required for employees working at airports and in the airline sector was causing a bottleneck. 

“Staff shortages are having a significant impact on travel programs and are threatening to affect the speed and trajectory of recovery of the business travel industry,” said Catherine Logan, regional vice president, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “The Global Business Travel Association is calling on the European Commission to prioritize and expedite the needed safety background checks to help alleviate the pressure at airports.”

The UK has already accelerated national security checks for new airport employees, but will that be enough for Heathrow? Passenger numbers are set to soar in a couple of weeks when families begin their summer vacations, which could compound an already complex situation.

Airlines

UK Speeds Up Security Checks for New Airport Workers Amid Staffing Shortages

3 months ago

The UK government is accelerating national security checks for new airport employees to tackle staffing shortages that have contributed to a chaotic summer for travelers in the country and throughout Europe.

The country has sped up the vetting process all new aviation recruits must undergo, with accreditation checks being completed on average within five days and counter-terrorist checks taking less than 10 days — half of the average in March, according to the Department of Transport.

A common scene at airports this summer (Courtesy: Mark Hodson Photos/Flickr)

Staffing shortages have driven London’s Gatwick and Heathrow Airports to limit the flights the number during the summer travel season to avoid overcrowding. In addition, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told airlines to stop selling tickets for flights they cannot staff.

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