Striking airline staff at some of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations are expected to cause more travel disruption this weekend.
Cabin crew for Ryanair in Spain went on strike on Thursday and will take further industrial action this weekend. The strikes are expected to create problems for passengers travelling to and from Barcelona, Alicante, Madrid, Malaga, Sevilla, Palma, Valencia, Girona and Santiago de Compostela and Ibiza.
Nine days of strike action is also being taken by easyJet crew in Spain starting on Friday.
The walkouts follow strikes by Ryanair employees in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Belgium that took place last weekend.
They are the latest problem to beset the beleaguered aviation industry.
Airlines have been cutting flights from their schedules as a result of staff shortages after failing to recruit enough workers to keep up with a sharp increase in demand for international travel.
The shortfall of airport workers has also caused longer waiting times for travellers when checking in and going through security, as well as more luggage going missing.
Passengers at Heathrow were left fuming on Thursday morning after the airport ordered flights to be cancelled because it could not handle them.
Thousands of travellers were disrupted by a rare “schedule intervention” which led to the scrapping of 30 flights during the morning peak. Some passengers did not find out their flights were cancelled until they arrived at what is the UK’s busiest airport.
Travel writer and broadcaster Andy Mossack wrote on Twitter : “Total chaos at Heathrow this morning. British Airways flights cancelled and zero customer service!”
Another affected passenger, Andrew Douglas, described how he was due to be on a flight to go on holiday but had “spent the last four hours in multiple queues at Heathrow Airport because it’s been cancelled”. He added: “Absolute shambles, complete chaos and only found out at check-in with no prior notification. Horrific service.”
A Heathrow spokesman said the airport “asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the morning peak” as it was expecting more passengers “than the airport currently has capacity to serve”.
He went on: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away, and we apologise for the impact this has on travel plans.
“We are working hard to ensure everyone has a smooth journey through Heathrow this summer, and the most important thing is to make sure that all service providers at the airport have enough resources to meet demand.”
British Airways said in a statement: “As a result of Heathrow’s requirement for all airlines to reduce their schedules, we’ve made a small number of cancellations.
“We’re in contact with affected customers to apologise, advise them of their consumer rights and offer them alternative options, including a refund or rebooking.”