I think the headline is a bit misleading. The flight chaos is due to a number of reasons. Staff illness due to Covid is part of the reason but that's not solely down to relaxing mask usage, Covid rates in the UK are high since the relaxation of all Covid restrictions so dropping mask restrictions isn't the sole reason. It's not just staff related either, a BA spokesperson stated: *British Airways has cancelled about 100 flights, although only about five were last-minute cancellations directly related to staff absence.* My upcoming flights to Mallorca and Barbados currently still require me to wear a mask throughout the duration of the flight because the mask rules at the flight destination require it. The majority of flights operated by BA still require mask wearing.
There's also the issue with staff shortages due to redundancies during the pandemic when air travel was severely restricted. The airlines haven't been able to catch up nor have the airports. Security vetting is taking considerably longer due to many government employees still working from home.
Then there is the IT glitch that heavily impacted BA flights and baggage handling and the knock on effect that this has had.
And finally there is the problem with the e-gates (again!) meaning that immigration queues are longer, further compounded by the reduction in border staff due to illness and insufficient staff numbers.