TUI boss issues statement apologising for delays at airports - Read his statement in full

The managing director of TUI has written an open letter to its customers after the company experienced delays and cancelleations in recent weeks.

The travel industry has been hit by prolonged delays and cancellations - particularly around school holidays - due to what is said to be a lack of staff and a severe rise in demand for travel following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week, a number of people were left stranded abroad after their return flights were cancelled.

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TUI was among the companies affected by the issues, alongside British Airways, Wizz Air and easyJet.

TUI's managing director has issued a statement apologising for the delaysTUI's managing director has issued a statement apologising for the delays
TUI's managing director has issued a statement apologising for the delays

UK airline passengers have been hit by disruption for several months due to a lack of staff after letting thousands of people go during the coronavirus pandemic.

Airlines, airports and ground handling companies repeatedly called for sector-specific financial support during the Covid-19 crisis as Government travel restrictions suppressed demand.

They are now struggling to recruit new staff and have their security checks processed. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has rejected calls to open the door to more “cheap” overseas workers in a bid to relieve the pressure on the aviation sector.

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And now TUI boss Andrew Flintham has written an open letter to customers, apologising for the delays and cancelleations and saying the industry is a "complex ecosystem".

Here is his statement in full:

Dear Customer,

In recent weeks, you will have read in the news, or seen on social media, that the travel industry as a whole has been affected by delays and cancellations. I know that our customers work hard for their valuable time away, which is why we always do everything in our power to deliver a fantastic holiday.

TUI holidays rely on a complex ecosystem of services. This includes our own pilots and cabin crew, as well as operational partners that cover things like check-in, baggage and catering. Alongside that, we work closely with air traffic control and airport security teams. Our planes cannot take to the skies when the ecosystem is not working as it should be.

Over the first weekend of the May half term, the ecosystem experienced capacity issues that impacted some of our customers. In some instances, customers were subject to delays and – in rare cases – cancellations. These customers had a poor experience – for that, and the distress caused by the cancellations, I apologise.

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I would like to assure you that we have learnt from what happened, and we’re working closely with our partners to address the issues that caused the delays and cancellations. I’d also like to reassure you that situations like this are rare – this week, the vast majority of our flights have operated normally, and over 200,000 customers took off to enjoy their TUI holiday as planned. Our teams have been supporting customers who were affected in finding alternative holidays and processing any refunds due. And I can assure you that TUI would never leave you stranded overseas.

I hope this gives you the confidence to look forward to your holiday with TUI this summer, or next time you travel with us. We can’t wait to see you soon.

Best Wishes

Andrew Flintham

Managing Director