Chaos escalated at UK airports on Monday as EasyJet cut thousands of flights over the summer to minimize the risk of disruption, and passengers at Heathrow were facing cancellations caused by a “baggage mountain”.

Meanwhile, there may be legal challenges from airport service companies limiting flights to recover the costs of recruiting staff who may no longer be needed.

Warwick Brady, chief executive of aviation services company Swissport, told Reuters: “I think there will be some challenges, I legally doubt, in capping airlines.

“We recruited a lot of people for the summer schedule and they cut the schedules, so we have too many people now. We will be overspending as they go down. ”

The Department of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority last week told carriers to review their schedules and ensure flights were “deliverable”, following a shortage of airline and airport lock-out staff leaving it unable to keep up with the increase in travel as Covid’s restrictions came to an end.

EasyJet announced on Monday, in response to subsequent flight limits at two of its largest airports, London Gatwick and Amsterdam, that it was “proactively consolidating” a number of flights to give customers time to review on their trip and a chance to book again.