Ryanair warn Brits to expect summer travel chaos at UK airports in 2023
Ryanair bosses have warned British holidaymakers they will likely face another summer of chaos at airports.
The chief executive Michael O’Leary noted that disruption will probably affect tourists leaving UK travel hubs due to ongoing strikes and higher traffic.
The budget airline claimed 2023 would be a “watershed year”.
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This would require all parts of the airline industry to “pull out all the stops to keep delays down against a backdrop of ongoing airspace issues triggered by the Ukraine war, extra aircraft in the system, possible industrial action, ongoing staffing challenges, system changes and the return of demand from China and the Far East.”
Michael O’Leary noted: “Getting closer to pre-pandemic traffic levels will not be easy.
“Ramping back up close to 90 per cent of 2019 traffic over the summer of 2022 caused immense difficulties.”
Many Brits will remember with horror the summer of 2022 when airports saw huge queues at security, delays and even last minute cancellations.
Some holidaymakers were stuck abroad for days with no access to further information.
While others were unable to go to family weddings, funerals and reunions.
One such issue which could affect holidays in the summer months was the French air traffic controller strike action, noted the CEO.
He claimed it risks “shutting everybody down”.
“The French usually wait until about March-April to start going on strike,” he said. “This year they are starting on Thursday because they are not happy with [President] Macron’s pension reforms.”
Many flights were cancelled today as part of the current French strike action.
The workers are walking out after plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 were revealed.
The mass walkout affects transport across the nation.
An easyJet spokesperson told the Sun: "We’ve been advised that there will be national strikes taking place in France on Wednesday 18 th January from 19:00 to Friday 20 th January to 07:00, that is likely to affect transport services including air and rail travel.
“If you are due to travel to or from France during this period please check the status of your flight before you leave for the airport.”
O’Leary wants the European Commission to separate upper and lower airspace to protect operations.
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He said: “They actually use minimum service levels in France to ensure that 80% of French domestic and short-haul flights operate.
And all of the cancellations are taken by the overflights.”
He also noted that the war in Ukraine would affect airlines as they have to avoid certain airspace and find new routes.
The CEO commented: “All the long-haul stuff going to Asia now has to fly down around Germany and across Romania, out over Iran, because they can’t fly over Russia.
“So there is real pressure on Germany, northern Italy, those kinds of corridors there and that’s going to be a challenge.”
Ryanair has already sold a record 2.03million seats for this year.
O’Leary noted: “There just seems to be very strong demand out there.”
This morning, holidaymakers flying in or out of Manchester Airport were hit with delays and diversions as heavy snow caused both runways to be shut.
Both re-opened at 8.43am this morning as Manchester Airport stated on Twitter: "We are pleased to report that operations have resumed.
"Passengers should continue to contact their airline for the most up-to-date flight information."
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