Easter weekend holiday getaway in disarray as flights cancelled and Tube closures announced – UKMALAYALEE

Easter weekend holiday getaway in disarray as flights cancelled and Tube closures announced

Wednesday 6 April 2022 7:45 AM UTC

LONDON April 6: British Airways has cancelled 78 flights scheduled to or from Heathrow Airport today as Covid-related staff shortages wreak havoc on the industry. The total includes flights axed due to last month’s decision by the airline to reduce its schedule until the end of May to boost reliability, news reports said.

It also covers routes suspended for several months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Not only are airlines struggling with too many workers off sick amid a recent spike of Covid cases, they are also dealing with job cuts made earlier during the pandemic, Metro News reported.

More than 1,000 flights across the country have been axed last week, with chaos set to continue at major airports during the Easter holidays.

People have been left queuing for up to five hours, while others have been stranded in foreign cities due to planes landing too late for them to make connecting flights, Daily Mail reported.

Aviation data firm Cirium said 1,143 UK flights were cancelled last week, compared with just 197 during the same period in 2019. The vast majority of last week’s cancellations were by easyJet and British Airways.

The rate of staff absences at easyJet is around double normal levels. Airport bosses have urged passengers to arrive for flights as early as possible.

Meanwhile, Tube passengers have been warned of widespread closures over the Easter bank holiday weekend, including no Piccadilly line trains to and from Heathrow airport, Evening Standard reported.

According to the report, much of the central section of the Northern line will be shut on Good Friday and Saturday April 16 – including the new branch line to Battersea Power Station.

There will also be no service on the entire length of the Hammersmith and City line as Transport for London uses the four-day weekend to carry out essential track maintenance work.

The part-shutdown of the Tube will be preceded this weekend, April 9-10, with no Bakerloo line trains north of Queen’s Park and no London Overground trains between Euston and Watford Junction.

The Piccadilly line will be closed between Acton Town and Heathrow, and Rayners Lane and Uxbridge, from Friday April 15 to Monday April 18. This is to allow engineers to install new track and drainage as part of the Piccadilly Line Upgrade.

Customers for Heathrow are advised to use TfL Rail or Heathrow Express train services in and out of Paddington.

The Northern line will be shut between Charing Cross, Battersea Power Station and Stockwell on April 15-16.

Its Bank branch – already closed between Moorgate and Kennington until mid-May to allow the Bank station upgrade to be completed – will also be closed between Euston and Moorgate.

This means that the Northern line will only be part-open in central London, with services running to and from Charing Cross. In South London, trains will run between Stockwell and Morden.

The part-closure will enable test trains to run through the new section of Northern line track at Bank station for the first time ahead of the current phase of the major upgrade work finishing in mid-May.

The Hammersmith & City line will be shut for all four days next weekend and there will be closures on the District line between Tower Hill and West Ham, as well as Earl’s Court to Kensington (Olympia), for the same period.

This is to enable the removal of the temporary ticket hall at Whitechapel as part of the Crossrail/Elizabeth line improvements at the station.

The District line will be closed between Turnham Green and Richmond on Easter Sunday to allow Network Rail to carry out track maintenance work.

TfL said the majority of the Underground would be open over Easter but advised passengers to check before they travelled.

Weekday Tube passenger numbers have reached 67 per cent of pre-pandemic levels but are at 81 per cent of normal at weekends, and 84 per cent on weekend buses.

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “I’d encourage customers to check before they travel as there are some closures, but the majority of the public transport network will be open over the Easter weekend, meaning people can enjoy everything the capital has to offer.

“We’re seeing more and more people using our network again, which is a great sign, and we’re pleased to welcome them back.”

Buses will run a Saturday service on Good Friday and a Sunday service on both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. The Emirates Air Line cable car, linking the Royal Docks and North Greenwich, and river services will operate as normal.

The DLR will be closed between Prince Regent and Beckton from Good Friday to Easter Sunday to enable improvements to be made to the Beckton depot – part of introducing larger new DLR trains from 2024.

Piccadilly line trains are not stopping at South Kensington until spring, meaning visitors to the area’s museums have to rely on the District and Circle lines.

 

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