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Drivers warned to expect long delays as 27.6m plan Easter car journeys

Drivers are being warned to expect long delays next weekend as millions of people embark on an Easter getaway (Steve Parsons/PA)
Drivers are being warned to expect long delays next weekend as millions of people embark on an Easter getaway (Steve Parsons/PA)

Drivers are being warned to expect long delays next weekend as millions of people embark on an Easter getaway.

The AA estimates that more than 27.6 million car journeys are planned between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Some 13.6 million are expected on Good Friday alone, leading to fears of tailbacks on popular tourist routes.

AA spokesman Tony Rich said: “The Easter holidays look set to give British tourism a much-needed boost as people cut back on overseas travel.

“With more than 27.6 million trips planned over the bank holiday weekend, we can expect significant congestion across the UK as people flock to coastal resorts and holiday homes.”

An AA survey of 14,000 drivers indicated that 53% will use their car to go on holiday in the UK this year.

About 20% will not go on holiday in 2022 due to financial pressures.

Drivers making long-distance trips will be particularly susceptible to high fuel prices.

Latest Government figures show the average price of petrol at UK forecourts on Monday was 161.9p per litre, while diesel cost 176.0p per litre.

Those making Easter getaways by other modes of transport also face difficult journeys.

Several airlines and airports are struggling to cope with staff sickness and shortages, with a total of more than 100 daily flights being cancelled by easyJet and British Airways.

Coronavirus – Tue Mar 22, 2022
EasyJet has cancelled hundreds of flights (Matt Alexander/PA)

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said on Wednesday that problems causing long queues at Manchester Airport are likely to continue for two months.

Managing director Karen Smart resigned on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority’s chief executive, Richard Moriarty, wrote to airlines to remind them of their legal obligations to consumers and express “concerns” about the recent experiences of travellers.

“Where capacity is unavoidably restricted, we expect this co-operative planning to identify problems sufficiently in advance so as to allow pre-emptive cancellations,” he said.

Rail passengers are being warned of disruption as Network Rail carries out 530 engineering projects costing a total of £83 million.

This includes a closure of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes between Good Friday and Easter Monday due to upgrades of the existing line and HS2 work.

Cross-Channel ferries will also be busy with many people heading off on foreign trips or families returning at the end of the two-week Easter school holidays.

Roads in Kent have been hit by long queues in recent days due to a shortage of ferries caused by the suspension of sailings by P&O Ferries after it sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice.

The operator said it plans to resume operations on the Dover-Calais route next week pending regulatory approval.

Meanwhile, new figures show the UK’s tourism industry is beginning to recover after being hit hard by travel restrictions introduced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade association UKinbound, which represents more than 300 businesses dealing with tourists visiting the UK, said 39% of its members are reporting that international bookings and visitor numbers for between April and June are expected to be the same or higher than pre-pandemic.

The US market is recovering the strongest, with one in three businesses seeing growth in that area.

But some 61% of firms expect demand to be lower, indicating how much of the sector is continuing to struggle.

UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft said: “It’s fantastic to see international travellers returning to the UK and we’re delighted to see the strongest growth from our number one market, the USA.

“The ending of all UK travel restrictions has given international consumers the confidence to begin travelling here again.

“Compared with 2020 and 2021, business is booming, but we’re significantly lagging behind 2019 prosperity and our competitors.”

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