On Tuesday, the government and the aviation authority sent letters to airlines advising them to make sure their summer schedules were "deliverable."
They went on to say that cancelling flights in advance was "better" than cancelling flights at the last minute.
It comes after tens of thousands of travellers were inconvenienced by airport cancellations and delays.
The problem was particularly bad during Easter and last month's half-term school holiday, and British Airways, TUI and Easyjet have apologised.
Thousands of airline positions were eliminated during the pandemic and have yet to be replaced, despite a surge in post-pandemic travel demand, thus staff shortages have been blamed.
The Department of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority issued a joint letter outlining five "particular expectations" for the sector.
They wrote: "We think it's important that each airline reviews afresh its plans for the remainder of the summer season until the end of September to develop a schedule that is deliverable.
"Your schedules must be based on the resources you and your contractors expect to have available, and should be resilient for the unplanned and inevitable operational challenges that you will face.
"While cancellations at any time are a regrettable inconvenience to passengers, it is our view that cancellations at the earliest possibility to deliver a more robust schedule are better for consumers than late notice on-the-day cancellations."
The letter stated that airlines must "keep consumers informed" about their rights during disruption, such as having "sufficiently staffed call centres and user-friendly digital channels".
It also urged airlines, ground handlers, air traffic control and the Border Force work more closely to try to prevent problems.