The Government was ridiculed today when it emerged the “action plan” it unveiled to tackle summer travel chaos was merely repeating measures already announced.
Ideas in today’s action plan included encouraging airlines to make sure their schedules are “deliverable” and letting new aviation workers begin training before passing security checks.
There will also be a passenger charter published in the coming weeks, setting out passengers’ rights and what they can expect from airports and airlines.
Also among the 22-point plan was “news” the government is meeting weekly with aviation industry bosses and working on recruitment, skills and inclusivity campaigns. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps boasted: “The 22 measures we’ve published today set out what we’re doing to support the industry.”
But the Department for Transport confirmed the plan was a combination of previous announcements.
It came as thousands of Heathrow travellers were disrupted by what the airport called a rare “schedule intervention” – the scrapping of 30 flights during the morning.
Some passengers did not find out their flights were cancelled until they arrived at the airport.
A Heathrow spokesman said the airport was expecting more passengers “than the airport currently has capacity to serve” , adding: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked on to other flights outside of the peak.”
Travel journalist Andy Mossack wrote: “Total chaos at Heathrow this morning. British Airways flights cancelled and zero customer service!”
Rocio Concha, of consumer group Which?, said: “Another day of chaos at the UK’s biggest airport suggests the government’s working groups and written warnings to airlines and airports are not yet having the desired effect.
“Many passengers will understandably be concerned that this plan may not be enough to prevent a summer of travel disruption.”
Louise Haigh, Shadow Transport Secretary, said: “Brits have been facing weeks of travel disruption, and this Conservative government have been missing in action.”
She added: “The part-time Transport Secretary didn’t hold a single meeting to tackle the chaos between Easter and the Jubilee weekend and now he’s desperately trying to play catch-up.”
“These reannounced half-measures will do little to clear the huge delays in security checks and tackle the chronic low pay holding the industry back.”
“Their failure to listen to Labour and trade unions and protect jobs in the pandemic led to over 60,000 aviation workers being sacked, and the chaos we are seeing is the consequence.”