Sunday Mirror

After airport and flight chaos... a hire car shortage

Tourists either stranded or facing triple prices

- BY VAYAM LAHOTI and JACK CLOVER scoops@sundaymirr­

HOLIDAYMAK­ERS facing airport delays and cancelled flights are now being hit by a drastic shortage of rental cars abroad.

Tourists are turning up at car hire desks to find prices have TRIPLED or there are no vehicles at all.

Many firms slashed fleets by 30% during the pandemic, selling off cars to survive, says the British Rental and Vehicle Leasing Associatio­n.

And now a shortage of vital parts is leaving companies struggling to rebuild car numbers to meet the summer holiday surge.

A source at a Marseille branch of Avis said: “We seem to be playing it safe by having fewer cars but charging more. But sometimes we have to say ‘sorry there aren’t any’.”

The crisis is believed to be worse in Spain and Greece. Industry sources say the biggest shortage is mid-size hatchbacks, perfect for families.

Recent research from Which? shows the average weekly rental rate in the UK has shot up from £119 in March 2019 to £280 in March 2022.

Guy Hobbs, Which? Travel Editor said: “The combinatio­n of Covid and global car manufactur­ing shortages has created a perfect storm in the car hire industry.” Production of semiconduc­tor chips for motors has been hit hard by the Ukraine war

Around half the world’s supply of a grade of neon gas critical for lasers used to make chips comes from two firms in the beleaguere­d country.

Toby Poston, from rental industry body BVRLA, said: “Our members are facing rising interest rates, high costs for energy, transport and staff, plus fluctuatio­ns in vehicle prices.”

Meanwhile a caller to an Irish radio show claimed a visiting relative was quoted £43,400 for a nine-day lease from a local Dublin rental firm.

John McCartin, of County Leitrim, told Ocean FM he discovered renting a helicopter would have been cheaper. Avis was asked to comment.

 ?? ?? RENTAL SHOCKERS For Brits abroad
RENTAL SHOCKERS For Brits abroad

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