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The operation of UK Airports has been far from smooth in recent weeks due to a sudden influx of travellers compounded by staff shortages as a result of coronavirus. Simon Calder gave an insight into what flyers may face this Easter weekend.
Simon began: “Wherever you’re going this Easter, be prepared for delays.”
Before even arriving at the airport, flyers are expected to come into difficulty.
“The motoring organisations are warning that it could be the busiest weekend that we’ve seen i leisure travel for over two years.”
With many treating themselves to a holiday for the first time since the pandemic, the surge of people on the roads from tonight is sure to cause some chaos.
“While some roadworks are going to be taken away, there are still going to be intense problems around the M25.”
The “usual suspects”, the A303 and the northern part of the M6, are also facing long delays.
“The roads are going to be pretty grim.”
The West Coast Mainline, which runs from London Euston to the West Midlands, faces disruption.
There will be no trains departing from London Euston this weekend, from Friday to Monday.
There are engineering works across the West Coast Mainline.
He continued: “If you’re trying to get to an airport in London, the Piccadilly line between Heathrow and central London is going to be closed.
“So is the main Gatwick Express line from Victoria, but there are alternative trains there.
“Finally, completing the trilogy, you’ve also got Stansted Airport which is not going to be seeing the Stansted Express this weekend.”
But why this has happened?
Simon explained: “In 2016, Network Rail did a proper investigation and concluded that public holidays are absolutely the time to do it because, of course, you’ve got fewer commuters.
“Then Covid happened, and now we’re in a position where leisure travel at weekends and particularly over the holidays is vastly higher than normal commuting.”
The FA Cup Semi-final has only exacerbated this further, held at Wembley Stadium.
“It’s really easy to get there at normal times, but not this weekend.”
He concluded: “A pretty perfect storm if you’re staying on the ground.”
As for sailing from Dover to Calais, P&O Ferries has not sailed as of four weeks today.
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