Travel disruption is likely to continue for several days before the main Easter weekend – but the chaos at some of the UK’s biggest airports appears to have eased. Many people who had planned to go on vacation in the spring reported last-minute changes blamed by airlines and airports on staff shortages and Covid-related problems.

More than 100 flights a day were canceled last week with easyJet and British Airways hit hardest. But by Saturday, the numbers were down.

British Airways said it had to cancel three flights overnight beyond planned cancellations because staff were sick. The airline recommends that long-haul passengers arrive three hours before their flight and short-haul passengers two hours.

EasyJet said it canceled about 40 flights in advance. It added on Saturday: “We will be operating 1,422 flights today with a small percentage that have been canceled in advance to give customers the ability to rebook alternative flights.”

However, officials at Manchester Airport expect long queues for check-in and security to continue for the foreseeable future with some passengers having to queue for 60 to 90 minutes. Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham airports were also affected by delays and cancellations.

Manchester Airport this morning was reported to be busy but passengers moved steadily through the airport. The longest queues appear to be for passengers registered with TUI, however, visitors say the activities appear to be well organised.

There are also lines of passengers waiting to check-in with Virgin Atlantic and Turkish airline Pegasus. While passengers waited patiently to collect their luggage, others said they passed through security where the worst problems were encountered before the weekend. Some passengers said it took five hours from arrival at the airport before reaching the boarding gate for their flight when problems were at their highest.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Airport bosses said they would draft support staff to help cope with the weekend spike in demand. The airport is expected to welcome more than 400,000 customers over the Easter two weeks, with the most popular destinations including Dublin, Dubai, Amsterdam, Malaga and Tenerife. There are plans to deploy colleagues in a support role to the terminal throughout this weekend to help ensure customers are properly packed before entering the secure area.

Airport chief executive Nick Barton said on radio: “In terms of staffing over the weekend, we’ll have enough people for incoming passengers. We’re handling about 25,000 people a day.

“To give you context of how it feels, we during the very busy summer period can handle 35,000 to 38,000, so compared to that, it’s not as great. But the point is The key here, like all industry players are seeing, is getting the staff in, getting trained, and security liberated.

“That’s really the big problem we all have. It’s only been since the beginning of February that the rules and regulations have been enough for us to really start to think we could have a summer. “



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Heathrow Airport has also issued instructions for passengers, advising them to arrive no more than three hours before their flight is due to depart. A spokesman said: “The Easter break is the first time the UK travel restrictions have been fully lifted since the start of the pandemic and we are expecting passenger numbers, not seen since early March. 2020. Like most airports, we’ve been preparing for this for months, but we anticipate that the travel experience may take a little longer during peak times.

“We’re deploying more colleagues across Heathrow, and we continue to work closely with all of our airport partners to help ensure passengers fly as efficiently as possible.”

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