Monday 20 June 2022 5:16 pm

The news that British Airways was planning to set up a new budget operation at Gatwick emerged last month.

The airline industry has blamed world governments’ “shambolic” response for the ongoing travel disruption.

“The cost of government mismanagement was substantial. It devastated economies, disrupted supply chains and destroyed jobs,” Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said today during an industry summit.

According to Willie Walsh – former chief executive of British Airways’ owner IAG – confused government policies contributed to chaos across European and North American airports.

“There was one virus, but each government invented its own methodology,” he added.

“How can anybody have confidence in such a shambolic, uncoordinated and knee-jerk response by government.”

The director general’s remarks come as airlines were lambasted by governments and consumer groups over travel chaos around the UK and EU, which resulted in hundreds of flights cancelled and hour-long queues at airports.

Despite the ongoing disruption – which forced the likes of easyJet to axe flights to guarantee smoother operations – airlines expected to narrow their losses this year, returning to profit by 2023.

Nevertheless, the labour shortages responsible for the ongoing chaos will remain for the next few months, the industry added.

“People got into a bad habit of working from home,” said Qatar Airways’ boss Akbar Al Baker. “They feel they don’t need to go to an industry that really needs hands-on people.”

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