Brexit ‘entirely’ to blame for airport chaos, says Ryanair boss Business News

The chaos at airports, which has seen constant flight delays and cancellations, is “entirely Brexit-related”, the airline boss Ryanair has said.

Michael O’Leary said Brexit had been a ‘dismal failure’ and claimed resolvable labor shortages were to blame for the disruption at UK airports, adding: ‘This Government could not handle confectionery”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps denied Brexit was to blame for ongoing travel problems and accused airlines of “seriously overselling” flights since the Covid pandemic.

Asked about the minister’s comments, the outspoken chief executive of Ryanair told Sky News: “It has everything to do with Brexit. A lot of these pinch points would be resolved very quickly if we could bring in European workers.”

Tackling post-Brexit immigration policy, Mr O’Leary said: ‘We are shackled and paralyzed by a government so desperate to show Brexit was a success, when it was a failure. This will not allow us to bring in workers from the EU to do this work.

The Ryanair boss added: “If we can’t get people to do these jobs, like baggage handling like airport security, we’re going to have to bring in workers from Ireland or the mainland to do them – and Brexit is one of the system’s biggest pain points.

The low-cost airline boss has warned that delays and cancellations will continue “throughout the summer” as airports suffer from understaffing.

Mr. O’Leary pointed to the lack of personnel in the areas of air traffic control, baggage handling and security.

He said passengers should prepare for a “less than satisfying experience”, with flight delays expected to last through peak season and some airlines canceling between 5% and 10% of flights.

On the “deeply regrettable” disruption, he added: “This problem is going to persist particularly at airports like Gatwick and Heathrow throughout the summer. It will be worse at weekends and better on weekdays.

This follows similar comments from Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, who said The Independent Monday that Brexit was responsible for the disruption.

He said 8,000 job applications from EU citizens had been rejected by his company because the applicants did not have permission to work in the UK.

“The pool of people is smaller, it’s just math,” said the easyJet boss. “We had to turn away a lot of EU nationals because of Brexit.”

The comments come after Heathrow on Monday asked airlines to cut 10% of flights at two terminals, while easyJet began canceling thousands of summer flights.

The Heathrow move affected around 5,000 passengers at Terminals 2 and 3 over around 30 flights.

Footage emerged on Friday of a huge pile of passenger luggage to add to passengers’ woes with delays and canceled flights.

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This notice was published: 2022-06-21 11:17:53

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