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Manchester Airport was evacuated this morning over an ‘incident’ while a Jet2 boss blasts Britain’s ‘inexcusable, atrocious’ airports that were ‘woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced’ for end of lockdown.
Holidaymakers were told to ‘immediately evacuate’ the airport’s Terminal 3 this morning, as people shared scenes of ‘chaos’ on social media.
In one clip, a sizeable crowd can be seen rushing to leave the terminal as an alarm sounds, with the airport later confirming that it was a ‘false alarm’.
‘Attention please, an incident has arisen that necessitates the immediate evacuation of this area,’ a tannoy announces in the clip.
Armed police were also seen at the airport this morning.
Armed police were seen at Manchester airport this morning as Terminal 3 was evacuated
Holidaymakers were told to ‘immediately evacuate’ the airport’s Terminal 3 this morning
‘Attention please, an incident has arisen that necessitates the immediate evacuation of this area,’ a tannoy announced in one clip
One holidaymaker said on twitter: ‘Whole of terminal 3 being evacuated at Manchester airport. No news yet but everyone is leaving.’
The terminal is now open, and travellers are facing ‘long queues’.
‘Manchester Airport Terminal 3 was evacuated about an hour ago and queues for security are now extending into the multi story car park,’ one person said on twitter.
Another said that it took them two hours to get through security after the evacuation.
It comes as executive chairman for Jet2, Philip Meeson, criticised ‘inexcusable’ airport chaos as the group warned its current year performance will depend on how quickly services can return to normal.
He said that the company has been ‘directly impacted’ by the disruption, as it reports operating losses of £323.9 million for the year to March 31.
Customers have had to endure a ‘very much poorer experience’ than they should have, with passengers hit by flight delays, cancellations, long queues, baggage handling problems and a lack of onboard catering supplies.
There have been repeated complaints about long queues for security at airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, while a shortage of baggage handlers has led to long delays in people collecting their luggage.
This morning, queues were already mounting at Birmingham airport, as holidaymakers prepared to leave the country
Queues built at London’s Stansted airport this morning as travel chaos continues
This morning, queues were already mounting at Birmingham and Stansted airports, as holidaymakers prepared to leave the country, amid chaos in the airports and warnings that foreign destinations may reinstate tough Covid curbs to counter surging infections.
Some travellers were seen sleeping on the floor in Stansted airport at 2am this morning.
‘Most of our 10 UK base airports have been woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced for the volume of customers they could reasonably expect,’ Mr Meeson said, adding in other suppliers including onboard caterers and providers of airport mobility services.
Some travellers were seen sleeping on the floor in Stansted airport at 2am this morning
This morning, queues were already mounting at Birmingham and Stansted airports. Pictured, people sleeping on the floor in Stansted airport
‘Inexcusable, bearing in mind our flights have been on sale for many months and our load factors are quite normal,’ he added.
This ‘lack of planning’ has led to a ‘poorer experience’ at the start and end of people’s holidays, he said.
‘Theirs and the ground handling suppliers’ often atrocious customer service, long queues for security search, lack of staff and congestion in baggage handling areas, and the consequent airport congestion, together with the frequent lack of onboard catering supplies, have each contributed to a very much poorer experience at the start and finish of our customers’ holidays than they were entitled to expect,’ he said.
Jet2’s Philip Meeson criticised ‘inexcusable’ airport chaos as the holiday firm warned its current year performance will depend on how quickly services can return to normal
‘This difficult return to normal operations has occurred simply because of the lack of planning, preparedness and unwillingness to invest by many airports and associated suppliers.’
A spokesperson for Jet2 said that the group’s performance for the financial year ending March 31, 2023, ‘very much depends on how quickly the broader aviation sector returns to some level of stability’.
It will also be impacted by the strength of bookings for the remainder of summer and the second half of the financial year, a time period for which it has ‘limited visibility.’
The comments came as it reported operating losses narrowed to £323.9 million for the year to March 31 against £336.1 million the previous year.
Its statutory pre-tax profits widened to £388.8 million from £341.3 million.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, said that it served 20.5 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of March. Pictured, queues at Manchester Airport yesterday
Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, said that it served 20.5 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of March.
That was more than triple the figure for the previous year, which was affected by coronavirus lockdowns.
However, it was just a third of the 2019/20 total as pandemic travel restrictions were in place in the UK for 11 months of the period.
MAG reported an overall loss of £320 million for 2021/22, with revenues down 48% compared with 2018/19.
This week, experts warned that tests, facemasks and vaccine passes could return to favoured holiday hotspots and airports could see further chaos if the number of self-isolating workers skyrockets.
MPs and experts publicly shared their concerns for the future of millions of Brits’ summer holiday plans which could hang in the balance.
BARCELONA: Passengers queueing at the Ryanair check-in counters at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport last week
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, warned foreign getaways and even staycations could be scuppered by a rise in infections and the knock-on effect this has on airports’ staff levels
The Government’s 22-point plan to avoid airport chaos
The Government ha unveiled a 22-point plan to tackle flight disruption this summer.
The strategy is aimed at avoiding a repeat of the chaos seen at UK airports during the Easter and Jubilee holidays.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there is ‘no excuse for widespread disruption’ and holidaymakers ‘deserve certainty’.
Tens of thousands of passengers have suffered flight cancellations and huge queues at airports in recent months.
Demand for travel will surge again as schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland break up for summer this week, while the academic year for those in England and Wales ends in around three weeks.
The Government’s action plan includes a number of measures previously announced, such as encouraging airlines to make sure their schedule are ‘deliverable’, an amnesty on slot rules and permitting new aviation workers to begin training before passing security checks.
A new passenger charter will be published in the coming weeks, providing passengers with a ‘one-stop guide’ informing them of their rights and what they can expect from airports and airlines when flying.
Speaking on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, warned foreign getaways and even staycations could be scuppered.
She told the Mirror: ‘It is possible that holiday plans will be ruined due to rising Covid rates in the UK.
‘Other countries could reintroduce restrictions on arrivals from Britain, and transport companies — already in crisis from the Government’s mishandling of Brexit and industrial action, are likely to see an increase in staff shortages with more off sick.’
Experts believe the latest flare-up in cases are likely linked to the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron, which could push the total number of patients above April’s peak of 16,600.
Those variations are thought to be more infectious but just as mild as the original Omicron strain.
The Government has said it is monitoring the situation ‘very quickly’ but does not yet plan to reintroduce restrictions.
ITV Good Morning’s resident doctor Hilary Jones added: ‘There are large numbers of cases in Italy.
‘They could say ‘right, you’re going to need a Covid pass, you’re going to need proof of vaccination or recent infection’.
‘I would say to people who are travelling – look at the foreign travel advice for that country, see if you need a test before you fly and see if your NHS Covid pass works’.
Figures from NHS England show there were around 10,658 patients hospitalised with the virus on Monday.
The development comes as millions of passengers bracing for disruption as travel bosses tell airlines to cancel more flights while aviation experts have shared fears over an extended period of ‘Airmageddon’.
Staff shortages, issues with baggage handling services and a lack of trained security staff are all contributing to the disruption seen at many of the UK’s major commercial airports this year.
Heathrow Airport is expected to announce more flight cancellations next week as it rejigs its schedule. Pictured, passengers queuing at Terminal 2 at the airpor tlast week
British Airways is expected to bear the brunt of the cancellations when they are announced. Pictured, a British Airways plane at Heathrow Airport
And there is set to be even more disruption later this month with hundreds of British Airways check-in staff are expected to walkout in a dispute of pay.
It is expected that BA, which uses Terminal 5 at Heathrow as its hub and has more than 9,000 scheduled flights from the airport in July, will be the most affected airline by the upcoming cancellations, the Telegraph reported.
In the spring, the airline announced that it would cancel 10 per cent of its flights between April and October, with the latest cancellations bringing this to around 11 per cent and representing almost 30,000 flights.
‘The whole aviation industry continues to face into significant challenges and we’re completely focused on building resilience into our operation to give customers the certainty they deserve,’ British Airways told the BBC yesterday.
The Telegraph reported that the cancellations are being caused by an amnesty on take-off and landing slots.
Airlines pay millions of pounds for these time slots and often run flights half empty to ensure they meet targets for the minimum number of flights in the slot — if they do not do this, they have to give it back.
The amnesty, which was announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) last week, allows carriers to hand them back if they are not confident they can operate the service for the rest of the summer season, while retaining the slot for next year.
This is was a bid to ensure cancellations, like those seen at Heathrow Airport last week and earlier in the year during the Easter and half-term holidays, do not happen at the last minute and give passengers time to rebook.
Hundreds of bags of luggage arranged outside Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport. A shortage of baggage workers has seen huge delays in some people receiving their luggage
A spokesperson for British Airways said that the slot amnesty and consequent cancellations will ‘help us to provide the certainty our customers deserve by making it easier to consolidate some of our quieter daily flights to multi-frequency destinations well in advance’.
They said that the airline ‘welcomes these new measures’, adding: ‘Slot alleviation allows airlines to temporarily reduce their schedules but still retain their slots for the next year to maintain networks and provide consumers with certainty and consistency.
‘Allocating slots according to the (World Airport Slots Guide system) means airlines can offer the consistent services and efficient connections that consumers are looking for and protect jobs and create growth in the UK.’
A Heathrow spokesman said last week: ‘We encourage airlines to take this opportunity to reconsider their summer schedules without penalty and inform passengers as early as possible of any changes.’