Shapps orders industry to sort out problems in time for summer  

By Lisa James
06/06/2022
Home » Shapps orders industry to sort out problems in time for summer  

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has insisted there cannot be a repeat of ‘poor planning’ and other issues that have seen hundreds of flights cancelled and thousands of passengers unable to get home.

Following a meeting last week with aviation bosses, ahead of the extended bank holiday weekend, Mr Shapps said: “We will continue to monitor the situation closely to make sure consumers don’t lose out from any further disruption.

“Both myself and the Aviation Minister have made the changes needed to allow the sector to prepare for summer, but now we need industry to do their bit.”

And yesterday he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme that further changes were coming to try to avoid similar scenes for the summer, although he did not go into more detail.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Shapps said: “We’re grateful to those airlines and operators who have continued to deliver good services despite the current pressures and we recognise that not all operators have been affected in the same way.

“I also understand the resourcing strains on the aviation sector but it does not excuse poor planning and overbooking flights that they cannot service. The companies who have seen the most disruption need to learn from those who ran services smoothly.

“We have been crystal clear – run services properly and according to schedule or provide swift, appropriate compensation. We do not want to see a repeat of this over the summer – the first post-COVID-19 summer season – and will be meeting again in the coming weeks to understand the progress that is being made.”

He also reiterated that airline bosses should have been preparing for a surge in passenger demand following two years of travel closures.

Speaking on Sunday Morning, he criticised aviation bosses for ‘cutting too far’ during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Clearly, they have been taken by surprise by the way people have returned to travel after two years of being locked down, but I’m not surprised – we were saying all along: ‘You will need to be ready for this’.”

“It is very important that flights aren’t oversold, for example, and I want to make sure there is automatic compensation for passengers,” he said.

He also said holidaymakers should get ‘quick and straightforward compensation’ for cancelled holidays.

And he ruled out sending the army to do jobs that have been affected by current staffing issues in airports.

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