Airport bosses order wheelchairs as passengers pretend they are pretending to be disabled to avoid queues

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‘Lazy’ Britons who ‘live off benefits and sit on your ass’ have been blamed for the staff shortages currently crippling the UK travel industry, it has emerged – just hours later passengers have been accused of pretending to be disabled to avoid the horrific queues that plague UK travel centres.

Jet2 boss Steve Heapy reportedly made inflammatory comments during tough talks with transport secretary Grant Shapps this week, after the minister rejected calls – including from BA and easyJet – to give airlines more powers to hire visa-free workers from Europe.

Airlines have said they want to hire unemployed cabin crew like Spain in a bid to fill the employment gap, but their requests have been flatly rejected.

It was then that Mr Heapy allegedly fumed about Britons failing to show up for job interviews or failing to take the application process seriously.

Jet2 told The Sun that Mr Heapy had expressed frustration over employment issues, but that “other rumors circulating are categorically not the opinion of him or our company”.

Jet2 boss Steve Heapy (pictured) is said to have made inflammatory comments during tough talks with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this week, after the minister rejected calls – including from BA and easyJet – to grant airlines airlines more powers to hire visas. free workers of Europe.

It came after bosses at Birmingham Airport said there was a 20 per cent increase in the number of people requesting disability assistance and it had to buy more wheelchairs and hire staff extra to push them.

An insider at a meeting of industry leaders on Wednesday, also with Mr Shapps, said: ‘If people are claiming that this potentially prevents truly disabled people from getting a place, and that’s pretty bleak. “

The source added: “You can’t just tell people ‘no, you’re lying’.”

Another industry boss said: ‘There should be a special place in hell for people who claim to be disabled.’

Passengers with disabilities can skip the lines at security and, for a small fee, use the express lanes and get assistance with immigration, customs and baggage claim.

UK airports have come under fire for reported 10-hour delays to passengers.  It comes as the industry finds itself in the midst of a recruitment crisis due to a spike in demand since covid restrictions were lifted (Picture - Birmingham Airport)

UK airports have come under fire for reported 10-hour delays to passengers. It comes as the industry finds itself in the midst of a recruitment crisis due to a spike in demand since covid restrictions were lifted (Picture – Birmingham Airport)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said pressure on the labor market

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said pressure in the job market ‘does not excuse poor planning and overbooking flights they cannot service’ (Picture – Bristol Airport)

Hundreds of flights have been delayed or canceled in recent weeks and passengers have had to wait several hours on arrival and departure.

The industry wants post-Brexit rules to be relaxed so it can hire overseas staff, rather than relying on UK applicants who have increasingly missed interviews or failed aptitude tests.

Mr Shapps said the Home Office was unlikely to make an exception for the aviation industry, which it blamed for the problems.

The pressure on the labor market “does not excuse poor planning and overbooking of flights they cannot service”, he added.

Yesterday easyJet cut a further 36 flights, from Gatwick to destinations including Nice, Marseille and Montpellier. This brings its number of flights canceled mid-term to more than 200.

Passengers were pictured sitting on the ground and on a baggage carousel at Birmingham Airport

Passengers were pictured sitting on the ground and on a baggage carousel at Birmingham Airport

Passengers have reported long delays with baggage drop-off and collection, with airlines in particular struggling to find the staff they need to keep airports moving (Picture - Manchester Airport)

Passengers have reported long delays with baggage drop-off and collection, with airlines in particular struggling to find the staff they need to keep airports moving (Picture – Manchester Airport)

TUI canceled six a day from Manchester until the end of the month, and British Airways cut 16,000 flights until the autumn.

Travel chiefs are preparing for more chaos this weekend, with 10,794 flights – carrying 1.9million people – due to take off.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, called for a regulator with “real teeth” so airlines face appropriate penalties.

Mr Boland said: “The disgraceful scenes at UK airports at mid-term are the result of an industry in which some airlines feel they can get away with ignoring consumer rights and acting in complete disregard. impunity.”

“It is clear that passenger rights need to be strengthened…and the Civil Aviation Authority must have the power to impose direct fines so that it can hold airlines accountable when they flout the law.”

Michael O’Leary, the boss of Ryanair, told ITV News that the military should be brought in to run the security desks to get rid of the queues.

A Jet2 spokesman said: ‘In a meeting with government and industry, Mr Heapy expressed his frustration with the current jobs market as Brexit has taken hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in the labor market.”

They added: “To clarify, the other rumors circulating are categorically not the views of Mr Heapy or our proudly UK-based company.”

Spanish air traffic controllers could pile more misery on holidaymakers by going on strike in a row for staff.

A decision is expected at the end of this month by the USCA, a union representing 90 percent of the workforce.

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