PETER Kyle has called on the government to take further steps to help alleviate travel chaos at airports across the country.

Holidaymakers faced more chaos yesterday ahead of the bank holiday weekend, with passengers forced to wait in long queues at airports while others saw their flights cancelled.

Easyjet cancelled at least 31 flights from Gatwick Airport, including to destinations such as Barcelona, Prague and Edinburgh.

One passenger with the airline said they had to wait for more than two hours to receive their luggage after landing at Gatwick shortly after 3am.

The aviation industry is suffering from staff shortages after sacking thousands of people during the pandemic, with airlines and airports now struggling to recruit new workers and have their security checks processed.

Gatwick Airport has been most affected by the disruption, with 151 flights cancelled over the last week.

The Argus: Huge queues have been spotted at airports, including Gatwick, as airports and airlines struggle with staff shortagesHuge queues have been spotted at airports, including Gatwick, as airports and airlines struggle with staff shortages

In a letter to Transport  Secretary Grant Shapps, Mr Kyle, who is the MP for Hove and shadow Northern Ireland secretary, said airports like Gatwick have suffered a shortfall in security officers due to deployment and training regulations.

While he welcomed some changes made by the government so far, such as delaying refresher training for existing security officers, he said more could be done “to assist the aviation industry to ensure a smoother summer for passengers”.

Mr Kyle called on the government to ensure Border Force staff have sufficient resources to meet queueing time targets, secure additional resources in passport offices and process security and verification checks for aviation staff.

Mr Shapps claimed travel firms have “seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver”.

He said: “I understand the resourcing strains on the aviation sector but it does not excuse poor planning and overbooking flights that they cannot service.

“The companies who have seen the most disruption need to learn from those who ran services smoothly.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely to make sure consumers don’t lose out from any further disruption.”