Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed that BA is set to proactively cancel flights over the coming months with 100s of flights already being axed on a daily basis
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Brit holidaymakers face more major travel disruption with British Airways set to plan ahead and cancel flights for this summer.
Difficulty in coping with a rise in demand since the removal of Covid restrictions and a lack of staff has seen many airlines struggling to cope in recent months.
There have been long delays at airports and cancellations on a daily basis and now Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed that BA is to proactively axe further flights.
British Airways and easyJet are two airlines who have been hit particularly bad by staff issues and the British flagship carrier has had to cancel more than 1,500 flights over the past month.
Mr Shapps said he called British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle into his office on Tuesday to discuss recent disruption.
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The Cabinet minister told the committee that Mr Doyle explained that the problems are “growing pains in lots of different directions”.
Mr Shapps said: “He told me they were proactively, in advance now, slimming down their programme in order to be able to meet the demand.”
The minister said the airline has found it “quite difficult” to recruit enough ground staff such as baggage handlers in a “very, very tight employment market”.
A particular reason for slow recruitment has been down to getting security checks completed and now Mr Shapps has said that new aviation recruits will be permitted to begin training before passing security checks to ease flight disruption.
Passengers have faced chaos in recent weeks, with flights cancelled and long queues at airports.
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British Airways is axing around 100 short-haul flights at Heathrow every day due to staff shortages.
Travellers have reported being forced to wait for several hours to pass through security and passport checks at airports such as Birmingham, Manchester and Heathrow.
Mr Shapps said he will “look for ways to try to assist” the sector but will not “compromise in any way, shape or form with aviation security and safety”.
He told the Commons’ Transport Select Committee on Wednesday: “I have looked at the rules and found an area where we can assist with the bureaucracy, particularly with regard to new people coming into the industry, and their need to be security checked.
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“We can begin the training, without exposing them to the parts of the training which are security-related, without having the security check complete, as long as it’s complete before they start the security-related stuff.
“I have a Statutory Instrument – I think it comes to the House today – to do exactly that.”
He added: “This is an example of how we’ll try to work with the sector, but in the end they will have to resolve these problems by getting people in the right places.”
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