British holidaymakers face new traffic challenges as the four-day bank holiday continues, exacerbating ongoing disruptions to airports and some train stations.
More than 19 million drivers are expected to take to the roads this Platinum Anniversary Weekend, according to a survey conducted by AA.
Andy Marchant, traffic expert at location technology company TomTom, warned that motorists could expect “high levels of congestion” as people take to the roads during celebrations for the Queen’s 70th birthday on the throne.
The City of London Police have warned of road closures in the capital from Thursday evening until Friday afternoon due to members of the royal family attending a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral. Meanwhile, due to anniversary street parties, most of which are expected on Sunday, many routes will be closed.
The pressure on roads comes as UK airports struggle to cope with a surge in demand during the half year as tourists suffer from long lines and flight cancellations.
British Airways and easyJet canceled more than 150 flights to and from the UK on Wednesday, with passengers also facing long waits at hubs in Europe and the US.
Eurostar, which has been facing major delays this week, warned on Thursday morning that customers could expect further disruptions following an accident on a track in northern France.
In a social media statement, the rail operator wrote: “Please arrive at the station at the time shown on your ticket. If you miss the next connection, please contact our employee. We apologize that this may affect your plans.”
Transport Minister Grant Shapps met with aviation industry bosses Wednesday afternoon to discuss travel chaos and had what was described as a “productive meeting”.
In a subsequent statement, Shapps said that the lack of resources in the sector “does not justify poor planning and overbooking of flights that they (the airlines) cannot serve.” He said he also expressed concern that airline passengers are being unfairly sold tickets for holidays they can’t go to.
Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said the problem was not “an issue with the airline, the airport or the government” but that they all “ultimately have to work together to solve this problem”.
The meeting was attended by British Airways, easyJet and Tui Airways, all of which had canceled flights, and among the airports represented were Gatwick, Birmingham, Bristol, Luton and Newcastle.
The aviation industry is suffering from a workforce shortage after laying off thousands of people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite a massive recruitment drive from airlines and airports, they are struggling to hire enough key personnel needed to keep overseas travel running smoothly, such as movers.
The Department of Transportation said the government and…