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British travellers could face further chaos after Ryanair crews announce strike action

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 04/07/2022 Sami Quadri
heathrow.jpg © REUTERS heathrow.jpg

British holidaymakers could face further travel chaos after Ryanair crews became the latest to announce industrial action.

Spanish-based cabin crews at Ryanair yesterday announced they were planning to strike for 12 days this month to demand better working conditions.

The announcement came on the final day of the crews’ current strike, which began on Thursday and forced Ryanair to cancel 10 flights in Spain on Saturday.

Cabin crew will strike on July 12-15, 18-21 and 25-28 across the 10 Spanish airports where Ryanair operates, the unions said in a statement.

After months of delays, cancellations and lost luggage, the misery at airports looks set to continue as schools start breaking up for the summer holidays.

British Airways staff at Heathrow airport have also voted to strike after the airline failed to reinstate a ten per cent pay cut imposed during the pandemic.

The airline has offered a ten per cent one-off bonus but not a return to the same pay as before.

Flights from Heathrow were also suspended for approximately an hour on Saturday afternoon afternoon as staff battled to fix a fuelling system failure.

Thousands of passengers at the airport were hit by delays caused by a computer failure that left planes unable to refuel and "horrendous" scenes at the baggage reclaim area.

The disruption at UK airports has been blamed on staff shortages compounded by the new wave of Covid.

It comes as British Airways and Heathrow welcomed new measures to help airlines prevent last-minute flight cancellations over the summer.

Government regulations will allow a one-off “amnesty” on airport slots rules, enabling airlines to deliver a more realistic summer schedule with a view to minimising disruption at airports.

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Airlines will be able to cancel flights without being penalised for not using their airport slot, but must finalise their summer schedule by next Friday.

It is understood that flights cancelled or removed from airline schedules after the Friday deadline will not fall under the slot amnesty.

Slots are used to manage capacity at the busiest airports, giving airlines authorisation to take off or land at a particular airport at a specified time on a specified day.

Airlines must use slots a certain amount of times each season in order to keep them, and this “amnesty” is giving them the leeway to put a more manageable schedule in place without the risk of losing a slot due to cancelling flights.

The UK Government is also quickening measures for security checks to be processed in order to plug staffing gaps.

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