UK CAA warns canceled flights and delays could dent travel recovery

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The United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) chief executive Richard Moriarty warned the country’s airlines and airports that excessive flight cancellations and delays have the “potential to impact confidence levels” across the aviation industry, which is still on the way to recovery. 

The warning comes just weeks after passengers started facing long queues, massive flight cancellations and delays at the UK’s busiest airports, including London Heathrow, Manchester Airport, and Gatwick Airport. The travel chaos was attributed to staff shortages across the sector. 

In a public letter, the chief of UK CAA said that he expected “airlines and airports to work closely together to manage the resourcing challenges”. Moriarty also requested that flight cancellations must be announced well ahead. 

“At a minimum, we would like to see passengers given notice so that they do not travel to airports unnecessarily and are able to make alternative arrangements where possible and appropriate,” Moriarty wrote in the public letter. 

“I would also like to take the is opportunity to remind you of your legal obligations to provide passengers with information about their rights when flights are disrupted, to offer passengers a choice of refund or alternative travel arrangements at the earliest opportunity.” 

On April 8,2022, the chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, Charlie Cornish, apologized to travelers for the chaos they experienced in recent weeks in a public letter. 

Cornish remarked that the UK civil aviation sector has seen a “stunning” recovery in international air travel since February 2022. However, due to staff shortages across the industry, Cornish warns of more queues ahead of the Easter holidays.  

“We are busy recruiting new officers and taking them through the rigorous training and testing needed to work in aviation security. We are doing this in one of the most challenging employment markets we have seen,” Cornish added.  

Cornish said that these challenges were temporary, and that the airports were focused on getting back to normal in time for the peak summer season. 

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