Many families and couples were due to return to the UK on Saturday but 100 flights were cancelled due to the ongoing issues with staff shortages that have plagued airports for months.
Dozens of flights have already been cancellled on Sunday, with the biggest issue at Gatwick where Wizz Air, British Airways and easyJet have grounded flights.
The lengthy queues, mass cancellations and horrendous delays passengers faced are the fault of Brexit, London mayor Sadiq Khan has said.
He has called on the government to relax immigration rules and allow European workers who were employed in the aviation industry before Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic to return in order to plug the labour shortage in the sector.
However, transport minister Grant Shapps outright dismissed calls to open the door to more “cheap” foreign workers in a bid to relieve the pressure on the aviation sector.
He accused travel bosses of “cutting too far” during the pandemic and said it was up to the sector to solve the issues.
Thousands of passengers diverted after power failure stops arrivals at Luton airport
At least 18 flights, believed to be carrying around 3,000 passengers in total, have been diverted after a Sunday morning power failure at Luton airport.
One Wizz Air jet landed at Beauvais northern France, while others were re-routed to Doncaster, Liverpool and East Midlands airports.
Luton airport initially told passengers: “An earlier power failure in the area has resulted in the temporary loss of some navigational aids, meaning some disruption to flights.”
Aircraft could not land for around three hours between 7am and 10am. Most of the arrivals were on Wizz from eastern European airports, but an easyJet arrival from Belfast was re-routed to Gatwick.
Simon Calder has the latest.
One Wizz Air jet landed at Beauvais in northern France rather than Bedfordshire
Grant Shapps says Brexit is not to blame for airport chaos
Paris to London Eurostar trains delayed
Laura Hampson reports that trains running from Paris to London on the Eurostar have been delayed since 9am CEST this morning due to an electrical fault just outside of the French capital.
There are currently four trainloads of passengers, waiting to board a service back to London with queues stretching out past the Gare du Nord gates and later trains have been cancelled.
An update given by the Eurostar team at 12.30pm CEST told passengers that the electrical fault is more serious than first thought, and no trains would be leaving until mid afternoon, likely from 4pm CEST onwards.
However, this is just an estimate.Passengers have been told that they can cancel their tickets if they wish, but there’s a large number of British passengers in the waiting room hoping to get home today.
Last night’s thunderstorm has meant that temperatures are hot and humid today, but the Eurostar staff say that air conditioning won’t be turned on in the Gate du Nord terminal until 21 June.
Delays and lengthy queues at Bristol Airport
Holidaymakers have reported lengthy queues at Bristol Airport on Sunday morning. A number of passengers have taken to social media upset by the delays.
Grant Shapps dismisses bringing in army to end travel chaos
Transport minister Grant Shapps has said he does not anticipate calling in the army to help with issues at airports.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary suggested on Thursday that the armed forces could be drafted into transport hubs for the next three to four months to prevent travel problems. The Liberal Democrats also suggested this could help ease problems faced by passengers.
Asked on BBC’s Sunday Morning programme if the army will be brought in if things do not improve over the next few weeks, Mr Shapps said: “The Army is not a snap solution to every problem. Secondly they are being deployed in increasing numbers to eastern Europe, to the Baltics, in what is a war situation and that’s what the Army are principally there for.
“The airports and airlines will need to sort out this problem. The Government will give them every support, but I don’t anticipate that will include calling in the Army.”
Brexit to blame for airports chaos, says Sadiq Khan
Brexit is to blame for the chaos in Britain’s airports which has seen hundreds of flights cancelled and thousands of people’s half-term travel plans disrupted, London mayor Sadiq Khan has said.
Mr Khan called on the government to relax immigration rules to allow airport and airline workers who returned to their EU countries of origin following Brexit to come back to the UK to resolve staffing shortages.
But transport secretary Grant Shapps denied that the problems were caused by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and rejected calls for aviation workers to be added to the list of shortage occupations with lighter controls on migrants.
Andrew Woodcock reports.
Higher pay is solution to staff shortages at airports, says transport secretary Grant Shapps
Tens of thousands stranded in half-term flight cancellation chaos
Tens of thousands of British travellers are stranded at airports across Europe by an estimated 200 flight cancellations over the weekend.
More than 100 flights to and from the UK were cancelled on Saturday by a combination of staff shortage and air-traffic control restrictions.
So far today dozens more have been grounded, mainly by easyJet. Many of those stranded are families hoping to return home after half-term holidays.
Our travel correspondent Simon Calder has the latest.
‘No representative from the airline at the airport, just given a piece of paper and told the next flights to the UK are Wednesday’ – Wizz Air passenger Kam Hosseini in Faro
Good afternoon and welcome to The Independent’s travel blog bringing you the latest news of the ongoing chaos at airports around Europe as tens of thousands of Britons struggle to get home.
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