The government’s inaction has contributed to the ongoing travel chaos, according to Philipp Joeinig, boss of aviation services firm Menzies.
The chief executive blamed specifically former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and transport secretary Grant Shapps, as he said industry requests didn’t translate into “forthcoming help” from the government’s side.
Both Shapps and Sunak have thrown their hat in the ring and over the last few days have announced their bid to the Tory leadership.
“The present travel disruption is not because of a single point of failure, with staffing issues affecting the whole market. Not only was this predictable, it was also preventable,” Joeinig wrote in the Times.
According to the aviation executive, Brexit fuelled labour shortages by reducing the pool of employees available.
“The aviation sector lobbied the government at the time to provide sector-specific aid to retain its skilled, security-cleared people to avoid staff shortages,” he added.
“This was not forthcoming for aviation services businesses.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport rebutted the accusations, saying the government had launched a 22-point plan to “help ensure passengers don’t face a summer of disruption.”
As part of the initiative, the government gave carriers an “amnesty period” to give back their airport slots for free if they were unable to operate services.
“We support the intention of the government’s 22-point action plan to tackle travel disruption, but we call on it to recognise aviation as a special case,” Joeinig said.
“It should allow the sector time to recruit beyond the UK by adding aviation workers to the shortage occupation list.
“We also need a reduction in reference checks and a fast-track process introduced without delay, with mutual recognition by authorities of security training and employee background records.”