Today, the UK government released a 22-point plan to reduce disruption at airports during the busy summer travel season and address persistent problems in the aviation industry.
The action plan outlines how the government will support the sector through the peak season, including steps to ensure the delivery of a realistic summer schedule and assistance to recruit and train staff. This follows a barrage of negative press in recent weeks over flight cancellations and staffing issues.
The plan includes the one-time "amnesty" on airport slot rules that was announced last week, which will allow airlines to temporarily return lucrative take-off and landing slots at UK airports if they are unable to use them.
A new weekly Strategic Risk Group with ministers as the chairperson and CEOs of the airlines, airports, and ground handlers as participants has been established to manage schedules. The UK government is reviewing the ground handling market in addition to coordinating preparations with neighbouring nations and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol).
Other activities outlined in the plan include steps made to shorten the time it takes to onboard new employees, such as altering the law to permit more latitude with regard to background checks, and the introduction of a campaign called Generation Aviation to raise awareness of opportunities in aviation. Along with the UK Civil Aviation Authority, this will be supported by a £700,000 skills funding competition in the fall to promote industry outreach.
To prevent a recurrence of the commotion of recent months, UK transport secretary Grant Shapps stated that airports and airlines must either "commit to running the flights they've promised or cancel them with plenty of time to spare."