P&O suspends Dover-Calais ferry services as Easter travel chaos worsens Business

P&O Ferries cut all passenger services between Dover and Calais over Easter, a blow to thousands of travelers and causing further travel chaos over the bank holiday weekend.

P&O Ferries late last night urged passengers to try to book with other operators, saying it had taken the decision to suspend all passenger services on the English Channel from Thursday night until Monday night.

The operator said it “sincerely apologized” for the move, after weeks of travel disruption. P&O has not offered services since mid-March, when it laid off nearly 800 workers to replace them with cheaper agency staff.

However, he had insisted he planned to get back to business for the busy long weekend. P&O operates up to 15 crossings per day between Dover and Calais at peak times, meaning up to 60 journeys could be affected. Each ferry has the capacity to carry 2,000 passengers.

The news that services will remain suspended this weekend is expected to cause further turmoil for families trying to travel overseas over Easter, with airlines having already canceled thousands of flights over the past week. Airlines have blamed delays and cancellations on Covid absences and staff shortages.

P&O said last night: ‘We will refund your ticket in full. We will also refund the difference in cost between your P&O Ferries ticket and your new booking with another operator.’

The latest decision to delay the restart comes just hours after a second P&O ferry was stopped by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) over safety concerns. The agency said it had detained the Spirit of Britain, which is used on the Dover-Calais route, “due to investigators having identified a number of deficiencies which constituted grounds for detention”.

Another of the vessels used on the route, the Pride of Kent, was arrested late last month. P&O argued that the MCA is inspecting ships with “an unprecedented level of rigor”.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘P&O’s unacceptable actions have resulted in the grounding of its vessels, causing backlogs and congestion which would be significantly alleviated if its fleet operated as normal.

“We continue to work around the clock with the Kent Resilience Forum, police and regional leaders working to mitigate disruption and support those affected in Dover.”

P&O Ferries “unreservedly apologised” for the cancellations and said it would make alternative arrangements for the passengers affected, including transferring them to its Hull-Europoort service in Rotterdam, or rebooking them on services with Brittany Ferries between Portsmouth and Caen.

A spokesperson said: “Both of these options are at no additional cost to customers – if someone chooses one of these alternatives, we will reimburse them for any additional mileage costs incurred and any meals on board our crossing. by night. Customers will also receive a 25% discount off their original rate.

“We also recognize that these options will not be suitable for everyone, therefore any customer who has booked directly with P&O Ferries will be able to request a full refund and free travel on future travel.

“We thank customers for their patience during this time and again apologize to those whose travels have been disrupted.”

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This notice was published: 2022-04-14 07:28:44

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