UK flag carrier British Airways will cancel more flights during the summer season while the industry continues to struggle to meet the surge in demand for air travel amid staff shortages.
In an emailed statement seen by Reuters on July 5, 2022, the British airline confirmed that it will cut its summertime flight schedule by 11%, resulting in around 1,000 flight cancelations to destinations across Greece, Spain, and Portugal from its two major hubs in London, Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Gatwick Airport (LGW).
The move will affect at least a million leisure travelers.
“We took pre-emptive action earlier this year to reduce our summer schedule to provide customers with as much notice as possible about any changes to their travel plans, ” British Airways said in the statement.
“As the entire aviation industry continues to face the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions. […] We’re in touch with customers to apologize and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund,” the airline explained.
The airline said it decided to further reduce its flight schedule to avoid last-minute cancelations caused by a shortage of staff available to handle the higher-than-expected demand for travel during the holiday season.
Staff shortages continue to plague the aviation industry
Meanwhile, easyJet, British Airways’ largest competitor, has already made cuts to its summer schedules. On June 20, 2022, the airline announced it has trimmed more flights, citing the staff shortages that continue to plague the aviation industry.
easyjet said air traffic control delays, airport, and ground handling staff shortages were resulting in increased aircraft turnaround times and delayed departures, leading to flight cancellations.
It means that easyJet’s third quarter capacity, for the months of April, May, and June, will now be 87% of pre-pandemic levels against a previous plan for around 90%. Meanwhile, the airline’s fourth quarter capacity, for the prime summer months of July, August, and September, will be 90% of 2019 levels, down from a previous plan of 97%.
The low-cost carrier has caused fury among passengers who have been subject to delays and cancellations, prompting easyJet’s COO Peter Bellew to step down on July 4, 2022.