Potential solution to airport chaos as London Southend offers to host cancelled flights

It comes after the chaos in the aviation sector shows no sign of abating with airlines and airports unable to cope with rapid increase in demand. The aviation sector sacked tens of thousands of workers during the Covid pandemic and has struggled to replace them, often offering lower wages than before the pandemic.

As a result the industry does not have enough workers to safely operate the number of flights that can match increasing demand from passengers.

Heathrow has imposed a customer cap of 100,000 passengers departing a day, a cut of 4,000 until September and told airlines they cannot sell any more tickets.

However Southend is an exception with the airport currently very quiet with only one or two flights departing a day.

Passenger numbers are down 95 percent compared to before the pandemic.

In 2019, the airport was growing 40 percent a year and hosted over two million passengers on 40 different routes.

However during the lockdowns most airlines pulled out focusing their schedules around bigger airports.

Only easyJet remains running just four routes.

This means it has avoided the cancellation chaos seen at larger airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick. 

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“We’ve got a hiatus situation this summer.

“It’s not been great, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s been far from great. It needs to be much better for next year.”

It comes as the industry is still struggling to recruit enough workers.

When the furlough scheme ended the sector still hadn’t fully reopened and many former staff found work elsewhere with a record number of job vacancies.

Even for those who do apply the stringent security background checks prevents many from being hired or delays their start date if hired.

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