EasyJet has blamed the government for security delays that are increasing the number of canceled flights.
Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said the airline is waiting for the Department of Transport to give permission for about 100 new employees to start work.
He said there have been delays in processing security checks for new flight crews, which are badly needed as existing employees call in sick with COVID-19.
EasyJet has canceled hundreds of flights in recent days, mostly on routes serving Gatwick Airport – impacting many Brits who have made travel plans around Easter.
The airline said 6% of its flights over the past week did not go as planned.
Mr Lundgren said it was “too early to say” how long the flight disruption will last.
“However, one would expect that the spike that we are seeing in COVID infections, which really exists here in the UK and also in (other) parts of the network, would go down, but that’s something we’re not doing nor seeing.” , he added.
While the cancellations were mainly due to the coronavirus, Mr Lundgren said the government was also taking too long to screen new recruits.
“There is this delay in clearance by the DfT [Department for Transport] so people can get their IDs,” he said.
“There is a backlog and we are currently waiting for about 100 flight attendants to get their badges.
“There’s a three-week delay. That has worked. If that had been on time we would have seen fewer cancellations.”
Mr Lundgren said it was “absolutely not” fair to accuse the company of selling flights it could not deliver.
“We’ve had up to 20% absenteeism in some cases and at no point would you expect an airline to be able to cover that,” he said.
“This is unfortunate for those affected, but I would like to reiterate that these cancellations have been made as a precautionary measure.
“People found out about this early last week. The majority of them were able to rebook onto flights that we have on the same day, unfortunate as that is.
“We carry up to 260,000 customers a day, so I think it’s important to put that in context.”
EasyJet canceled at least 23 flights to or from Gatwick on Tuesday, affecting destinations including Berlin, Milan, Valencia and Venice.
Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister Louise Haigh accused the Government of “missing on the job” while “Brits face travel chaos”.
She said: “They have been warned of staffing shortages and yet the Tories have comprehensively failed to take action to address the security backlog that is hampering recruitment.
“They need to get their act together, get their work done and act to mitigate the disruption by prioritizing the huge backlog at security checks so airport staff can get to work safely.”
According to EasyJet, more bookings were made for summer flights in the last six weeks than in the same period of 2019 before the pandemic.
EasyJet blames government for delays in crew security checks that ‘contribute to flight cancellations’ | business news
Source link EasyJet blames government for delays in crew security checks that ‘contribute to flight cancellations’ | business news