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The boss of budget airline Ryanair has warned that flight delays and cancellations will continue “right throughout the summer” as airports suffer amid staff shortages.
Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said passengers should brace for a “less than satisfactory experience”, with flight delays due to last across the peak season and some airlines cancelling between 5% and 10% of flights.
He told Sky News this was “deeply regrettable”.
It will be worse at weekends and better during the week
Michael O'Leary, Ryanair chief executive
“It will be worse at weekends and better during the week.”
He said 99% of Ryanair flights are getting away and that the experience was so far better at its Stansted base than other UK airports, but admitted it will be a “struggle through the summer”.
Mr O’Leary blamed the problems on shortages of airport staff across air traffic control, baggage handling and security.
He said that Ryanair was not immune to the issues, with last weekend seeing 25% of its flights delayed by air traffic control issues and a further 15% by airports handling delays.
He said Brexit was compounding the disruption caused as demand ramps up after pandemic restrictions were lifted, with airports unable to hire workers from abroad to fill posts.
He said: “There are hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK that frankly British workers don’t want to do.
“These problems will not be resolved until we start allowing people in to do the jobs.”
The comments come after Heathrow asked airlines on Monday to cut 10% of flights at two terminals, while easyJet started cancelling thousands of summer flights.
The move by Heathrow affected around 5,000 passengers at Terminals 2 and 3 on approximately 30 flights.
Images emerged on Friday of a huge pile-up of passengers’ luggage to add to passenger woes with delays and cancelled flights.