Priti Patel was warned of Easter travel chaos a month ago Business

Separately, The Telegraph can also reveal that protests by Extinction Rebellion at fuel depots are threatening to further aggravate the misery of holidaymakers hoping to fly abroad over Easter.

Aviation industry leaders held crisis talks with government officials late last week after Birmingham Airport scrambled to avoid running out of aviation fuel.

Jets have been told to land at the airport with extra supplies so they don’t need to refuel following the obstruction of deliveries at a nearby depot.

Airline and airport officials reportedly held further talks with Border Force officials on Tuesday amid concerns over the return of holidaymakers from their Easter holidays.

Border Force staff have been reassigned from airports to deal with other issues such as the Channel migrant crisis during the pandemic after most flights were blocked due to travel restrictions.

A senior industry official said: ‘There were concerns that many Border Force personnel had been removed from airports and whether we were going to get them back.

Long queues at airports showed no signs of abating on Tuesday as operators struggled to cope with large numbers of passengers, many of whom were traveling overseas for the first time in two years . More than 1,000 flights have been canceled since the start of the Easter school holidays.

Industry leaders pointed the finger at Whitehall. They say it takes up to twice as long to complete security screening procedures.

An Airlines UK spokesperson said: “We are working closely and productively with all parts of government to ensure we have the right levels of resources across the sector, including at the border. We knew things would be bumpy for the travel industry that is ramping up operations from next to nothing and we are working hard to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.

“We are not blaming anyone, rather we are trying to work constructively across the industry and with ministers to resolve the issue.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Those traveling in and out of the UK during the busy Easter period may face longer waiting times than usual due to high passenger numbers and as we ensure that all passengers comply with the security and immigration measures put in place to protect us.

“Border Force’s number one priority is maintaining a secure border, and we will not compromise on that. We are mobilizing additional staff to help minimize passenger wait times and will continue to deploy our staff flexibly to manage this demand.

Birmingham Airport has insisted fuel shortages have not led to cancellations. Andrew Holl, airfield operations manager at Birmingham Airport, said: “Protests at Kingsbury depot have caused minor delivery issues but our operations have largely been unaffected as we We have been supplied with fuel from other depots and some incoming aircraft have been asked to come with enough fuel on board for their return journeys.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-12 19:06:27

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