Dr Hilary Jones explains nine new symptoms of Covid

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Cancellations have disrupted holiday plans for thousands of families hoping to take advantage of the two-week Easter break. Troubles have extended across the travel sector and the UK, impacting a clutch of airlines. There are several reasons behind the chaos, with one primary aggravating factor.

Why are so many flights being cancelled?

Several airlines have said they are struggling with staff shortages, as Covid has started running rampant in the UK again.

Over the last few weeks, cases of both infections and reinfections have broken records, with the seven-day rate currently at 425,303.

For airlines, these high Covid rates mean staff shortages, as pilots and other employees spend hours attending to hundreds of people every day.

Several have cited employee sickness due to Covid as a reason behind their recent staff shortages.

Case surges have coupled with Easter tourism patterns as Britons escape for the holidays and tourists arrive.

Together, airlines have cancelled more than 1,140 flights across the UK’s largest airports.

The delays could continue for weeks as airports struggle to bring on new staff quickly.

Airports affected by the rising staff shortages include:

  • Heathrow
  • Gatwick
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Newcastle
  • Glasgow

And the following airlines have announced flight cancellations:

  • EasyJet
  • British Airways

While it hasn’t unexpectedly had to cancel flights recently, Stansted Airport announced some travellers could experience delays.

Earlier on Wednesday, airport officials asked people for patience as they predicted a busy holiday period.

Stansted faces a post-pandemic rush, with up to 30 times more passengers at this point in the year compared with 2021.

Last year, approximately 8,000 people used the airport for an Easter weekend holiday.

But in 2022, that could dramatically increase beyond 240,000 by next week.

Airport managers have appealed for patience as they anticipate “the most challenging two years” in Stansted history.

Steve Griffiths, the airport’s managing director, said staff were “working hard to “get back to where we need to be”.

He warned that queues “may be longer than people are used to at times” and urged passengers to “arrive in good time”.

Airlines and airports have seen their issues with staff shortages extended by hiring procedures.

Unions have warned that chaos may persist through the summer due to counter-terrorism checks.

When hiring, airports must conduct checks on and clear prospective new workers before they can start.

Typically, this can take 14 to 15 weeks, but work from home policies have reportedly extended the timeline.

Recent issues have doubled the time required to clear new employees to around 30 weeks.

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