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Flight cancellations: MPs launch flight chaos survey ahead of questioning airlines and industry bosses

9 June 2022

The Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee will question airline bosses, unions and aviation industry bodies over flight cancellations faced by holidaymakers over the half-term holiday at an evidence session on 14 June.

Ahead of the session, the Committee has also launched a survey to canvas the public for their experiences at airports and with airlines.

In its survey, the Committee asks those affected how much notice they get before their flights had been cancelled and whether compensation was offered and paid.

Travel writer Simon Calder and representatives from consumer choice publication Which? will also give evidence on the passenger experience.

The aviation sector laid off tens of thousands of workers over the last two years due to losses sustained over the coronavirus pandemic and have struggled to match recruitment with a sharp rise in demand. This week, Heathrow Airport’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye warned it could take 18 months to fully recover.

The Committee, which is also running an inquiry into UK Labour Markets, will look into the causes of these issues, what could have been done better by the airlines, and question Aviation Minister Robert Courts on what more the Government could be doing to ease the crisis. The Committee has recently finished taking evidence on how consumer rights legislation needs to be updated in the interests of consumers, as part of its Post-Brexit Competition and State Aid inquiry.

In April, a Commons Transport Committee report recommended a number of ways that the Government could reduce disruption and speed-up recruitment. This included considering increasing the ratio of trainees to supervising security officers above the current 3:1 and easing pinch points at immigration by speeding-up e-gate maintenance.

Commenting ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Committee Chairman Darren Jones MP, said: “Thousands of people have been affected by chaos at airports in recent weeks with the prospect of delays and cancellations continuing into the Summer. It’s right that the public get answers about what is causing these issues, how it will be fixed and how consumer rights are being properly enforced with refunds and compensation being paid promptly.”

Confirmed witnesses at time of publication

  • Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive, Civil Aviation Authority;
  • Simon Calder, Travel Writer and Broadcaster;
  • Oliver Richardson, National Officer for Civil Aviation, Unite;
  • Robert Courts MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Transport; and
  • Karen Dee, Chief Executive, Airport Operators Association;
  • Sue Davies, Head of Consumer Rights and Food Policy, Which?
  • Daniel Brooks, Virtual Human Resources Ltd;
  • Jude Winstanley, Managing Director of UK & Ireland, Swissport.

Representatives from;

  • TUI; and
  • Which?

Full list of witnesses and timings to be confirmed in due course.

Further information

Image: PA