Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has demanded a meeting with aviation bosses to find out “what’s gone wrong” as travel chaos worsens across the country.

Airlines continued to axe flights yesterday with passengers forced to wait for hours at airports, including Gatwick.

Passengers trying to board their flights claimed they had “never” seen queues as long as those on Tuesday morning.

The Argus: Grant ShappsGrant Shapps

Passengers have been hit by disruption for several months, with the situation worsening this week due to the rise in demand sparked by the half-term school holiday and the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday period.

The aviation industry is suffering from staff shortages after laying thousands of people off during the coronavirus pandemic and is struggling to recruit more.

Airlines and airports repeatedly called for more financial support during the Covid-19 crisis as Government restrictions suppressed demand.

The Argus: Queues at Gatwick airport last weekQueues at Gatwick airport last week

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Mr Shapps said the Government had “done its part”, adding that airlines and ground handlers need to ensure there is no more disruption.

Mr Shapps referred to the £8 billion given to the aviation industry during the pandemic as well as legislation he introduced last month which allows new aviation recruits to begin training before passing security checks.

He said: “It’s been very distressing to see passengers facing yet more disruption at airports – having well-earned holidays cancelled and plans left in disarray.

“We’ve been clear that industry leaders need to tackle the issues we saw at Easter head-on.

“Although some steps have been taken, we are still not seeing the progress we need to.”

He said the Government “will be meeting with airports, airlines and ground handlers again to find out what’s gone wrong and how they are planning to end the current run of cancellations and delays”.

Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said in a statement that the UK’s aviation sector had only had “a matter of weeks” to recover after being “grounded for almost two years”.

It said: “Despite this, and without the ability to know when restrictions would be completely removed or predict how much flying would be possible over the summer, the vast majority of the many tens of thousands of UK-departing flights a week will be operating as scheduled.