Four easyJet flights have been cancelled at Belfast International Airport today as the budget airline apologised for continued disruption.

he 9.10pm and 6.40pm arrivals from Bristol and Glasgow were cancelled as well as the 7.10pm and 9.40pm departures to Glasgow and Bristol.

They were part of 80 easyJet flights cut across the UK today, with the airline blaming “the ongoing challenging operating environment”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC the aviation industry cut too many jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and it must not oversell flights.

Reported by the BBC, an easyJet spokesperson said: “We are very sorry and fully understand the disruption this will have caused for our customers,” adding that everything possible was being done to get passengers to their destinations.

Customer service opening hours have now been extended to 11pm tonight to help those affected find hotel accommodation.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC One’s Sunday Morning programme that labour shortages had caused the problem, making airlines struggle to get passengers on board.

“When someone has bought a ticket for a flight, they’ve every right to expect that flight will take off, and not find that flight has been cancelled,” he said.

“Airlines should be cautious about not overselling those flights, (and) where there are problems they need to fix them quickly.”

Mr Shapps said the government had provided £8bn of support to the sector throughout the pandemic, including furlough, so any decisions to cut staff were made by the industry.

He also accused airlines of making too many cuts during the pandemic.

“Clearly (the airlines) have been taken by surprise by the way in which people have returned to travel after two years of being locked down,” he said.

He has now called for a an automatic refund system, similar to “Delay Repay” train passenger funds, but rejected the idea of relaxing immigration visas to ease labour shortages.