EasyJet boss criticizes UK stance on visas for EU employees amid canceled flights | easyJet

The easyJet boss criticized the government’s refusal to allow more visas for EU cabin crew and ground-handling personnel, arguing that easing restrictions would ease pressure on aviation after weeks of travel chaos.

Despite widespread shortages of workers and difficulties recruiting for roles, including airport security personnel and ground assistants, industry calls to allow more EU citizens to fill in the gaps “is not something they have responded positively to,” Johan said. Lundgren.

“We know there are exemptions to allow other groups of workers to be arriving, ballet dancers, circus performers, bakers and so on, but not for aviation personnel,” the easyJet chief executive said. “It would help if you could sort out the visa operation, of course it would ease the pressure.”

However, he said it doesn’t look like the ministers plan to change visa rules for the aviation sector. “That’s not something we’ve seen them feel inclined to do at this point.”

EasyJet said it was a challenge to find enough domestic workers to fill the vacancies amid a chronic shortage of workers across the economy and that unemployment remained steady at 3.8% in June.

“The level of people the whole industry is recruiting from has become smaller, partly also because we don’t have the same amount of EU citizens available,” Lundgren said. “In terms of the government, we will continue to work with them to ensure that the sector remains an attractive place to work and to ensure that there are enough people to recruit.”

EasyJet said it was also experiencing problems on the continent amid the recovery in demand for travel abroad following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, but added: “The problems here are bigger than across Europe.”

Lundgren’s comments came as the airline reported a £133m financial hit from disruptions to air travel between April and June, leading to a pre-tax loss of £114m in the second quarter of the year.

EasyJet was one of the airlines most affected by the recent travel turmoil and canceled about 10,000 flights from its summer schedule in June.

Its chief operating officer left last month after weeks of disruptions and more last-minute flight cancellations that have damaged the airline’s reputation for reliability and customer service.

Lundgren said the airline’s daily operations had “normalised” in recent weeks, adding that easyJet operated more than 3,100 flights on Saturday and Sunday, the start of summer travel for many families, and had not had to cancel any UK flights. . flights in the day.

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Long lines for travelers, combined with flight delays and cancellations in recent weeks, have sparked a blame game between airports and airlines.

Lundgren said easyJet is discussing seeking compensation from airports like Gatwick, which have tried to limit the number of daily flights in an attempt to control travel disruptions.

“In terms of potential compensation, I mean it’s definitely something we’ll discuss individually with operators and our partners,” Lundgren said, but declined to elaborate.

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