P&O Ferries’ Dover-Calais services remain suspended

Ten days after their dramatic sacking of 800 UK-based staff, P&O Ferries has still not resumed its Dover/Calais services, with travellers advised to use other operators for trips between France and the UK.

P&O Ferries' Dover-Calais services remain suspended
Protests outside P&O offices in Dover. Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP

The company suspended all services, including its Dover/Calais route, on Thursday, March 17th, shortly before the announcement that it had fired 800 of its UK-based seafaring staff.

On Monday, March 28th, services on the Dover/Calais route had not resumed, with no date given for when the route may reopen.

READ ALSO Why did P&0 Ferries axe UK jobs but keep its French workers?

For customers travelling on Irish or Dutch routes services are simply cancelled, but anyone with tickets booked on the Dover/Calais route is advised to turn up at the port as planned.

Once there, they should head to the check-in booths of rival ferry company DFDS and, says P&O, alternative services will be arranged.

Passengers are reminded that face masks are compulsory on DFDS ferries, as well in all public transport hubs and on services in France.

READ ALSO How to travel between France and the UK without P&O Ferries

The 800 UK-based jobs will be replaced with foreign staff who are not covered by British minimum wage legislation, although P&O employees based in France and the Netherlands have so far not been affected by the moves.

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.