Airlines turn on Government amid Easter travel chaos – ‘We warned ministers’ | UK | News | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack

However, many in the industry have blamed the Government for long delays to the counterrorism checks that are required for new pilots, cabin crew and ground staff.

Martin Chalk, general secretary of Balpa, the pilots’ union, said that airlines had not yet been able to recruit enough staff to cope with demand.

Mr Chalk also slammed the Government arguing that Aviation Minister Robert Courts had ignored their warnings.

He said: “The chaos witnessed at British airports may well be repeated throughout the summer because airlines, laden with debt… have not yet rehired enough staff.

“We warned ministers several months ago of the threat of disruption during the Easter holidays because airlines were not building enough resilience in their operations.

“We told Robert Courts. He listened politely, but the Government failed to act.”

Another industry figure told The Telegraph that the industry was in a “very difficult situation”.

They said: “Everyone is in a very difficult situation. Over the last two years we have all made deep cuts to survive. 

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A spokesman for Easyjet blamed delays on the high levels of sickness from coronavirus for the delays.

He said: “We expect to make similar levels of pre-emptive cancellations over the coming days, due to the ongoing high level of sickness.”

A spokesman for Manchester and Stansted airports blamed the lengthy vetting process.

He said: “We are doing all we can to recruit the staff we need to meet this demand, but this is taking time due to the lengthy vetting and training processes involved.”

A spokesman for the Government insisted the checks were there to protect the public.

He said: “The aviation industry is responsible for resourcing at airports and they manage their staff absences, although we want to see minimal disruption for passengers during the Easter period.

“The requirement for counter terrorist checks for aviation security staff is important for the protection of the travelling public and the Government continues to process these security clearances in a timely manner.”

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