Holiday company Tui has canceled more than 180 flights from Manchester Airport by the end of next month as travel chaos continues unabated at mid-term.
Toei said it will cancel six flights per day at the hub from May 31 to June 30, adding to the chaos that passengers face at airports this week as they face long queues and canceled takeoffs.
TUI, which has already announced some flight cancellations and delays over the weekend, blamed the “continued disruption of our Manchester operations” for the “extremely difficult decision” to cancel 43 flights a week.
Manchester Airport said it was “disappointed” that travelers’ vacation plans were being disrupted by the move, which it attributed to a shortage of staff at TUI and ground handling company Swissport, which manages check-in and baggage handling.
Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson said on Tuesday the government was working to reduce disruption to travelers after passengers at airports including Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester reported significant delays.
He told Sky News the travel industry should have been better prepared for the post-pandemic surge in holidays, adding that the disruption was causing “a lot of anxiety” for those affected.
Many travelers in Tui had bought their flights as one package, so they had canceled their vacation and their entire trip. Toei said she could not confirm how many passengers were affected or how many holidays were cancelled.
“We would like to apologize to our customers who have experienced flight delays and cancellations over the past few days, and understand that many of our customers are looking forward to their vacation with us for a long time,” Toei said in a statement.
“Due to the ongoing disruption of our operations at Manchester Airport, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel six flights per day… by Thursday 30 June. All other UK airports are operating normally.
“We understand how disappointing this will be for those affected; however, we believe this is necessary to provide stability and better customer service.”
Manchester Airport said: “In recent days, Tui and its designated Swissport have faced significant challenges with check-in and baggage collection processes at Manchester Airport.
“Extensive discussions with the management teams of Tui and Swissport show that they, like airlines and other travel companies, are experiencing a temporary staff shortage.
“Faced with these challenges, we understand Tui’s difficult decision to cancel a number of connections over the next month, although we are clearly disappointed that passengers’ plans will be disrupted in this way… In the meantime, we continue to advise passengers to stay safe.” Arrive three hours before their flight and prepare as much as possible for their flight through the airport.”