EasyJet cancellations will reach 1.5 million tourists

EasyJet cancellations will reach 1.5 million tourists

Easyjet flight cancellations travel summer vacation chaos airlines lack of aviation staff airport - REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Easyjet flight cancellations travel summer vacation chaos airlines lack of aviation staff airport – REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The summer vacation plans of 1.5 million easyJet customers were thrown into chaos after the airline cut thousands of flights amid an industry-wide staffing crisis.

About 10,000 services have been cut by the economic carrier after chaotic scenes at airports across the country since Covid restrictions were lifted.

The cancellations – which will likely include flights to popular destinations in countries like Greece and Spain – will take place during the crucial months of July and August, as well as September.

EasyJet planned to fly around 160,000 flights over the season, equivalent to 97% of 2019 capacity. But this morning the airline announced it would reduce that to 90% of 2019 flight levels.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said the airline was still looking at exactly how many flights would be affected.

But a source told The Telegraph that airlines are planning to cut up to 10,000 flights, hitting the holiday plans of around 1.5 million customers.

Separately, Heathrow Airport canceled one in 10 flights on Monday after images emerged over the weekend of a massive backlog of passenger luggage.

Airlines, airports and groundhandling companies have struggled to keep up with growing demand for travel abroad after Covid restrictions were lifted earlier this year.

Queues exiting terminal buildings, hour-long waits at security checkpoints and widespread cancellations spoiled what was supposed to be a turning point for an industry that was among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Lundgren said post-Brexit restrictions forced easyJet to turn down 8,000 applications from European Union citizens to work for the airline, despite claims by aviation minister Robert Courts last week that leaving the bloc was not to blame.

The easyJet boss insisted he was “not blaming” Brexit and admitted his company had not prepared for the impact of Britain’s departure from the European bloc.

However, he said Brexit had a negative impact on the airline’s pool of potential candidates.

The flight cuts this summer were announced as easyJet revealed it had canceled more than 4,000 flights in the three months to the end of June.

Action had to be taken to avoid repeating the chaotic scenes that first emerged when the British left during the Easter holidays.

Lundgren said: “Along with airport boundaries, we are taking preemptive actions to increase resilience over the summer, including a number of other flight consolidations at affected airports, notifying customers in advance and we expect the vast majority to be rebooked on alternative flights. within 24 hours.”

The airline said it took the step after unprecedented restrictions from airports such as Gatwick and Amsterdam.
The carrier also blamed the delays on a government-supervised identity verification scheme that created a huge delay in releasing new employees to start work.

Mr. Lundgren said: “Providing safe and reliable operation for our customers in this challenging environment is easyJet’s top priority and we regret that some customers have not been able to provide the service they have come to expect from us.

“We believe this is the right action to take so that we can deliver to all our customers during the peak of summer in this challenging environment.

“Along with airport limits, we are taking preventative actions to increase resilience over the summer, including a series of flight consolidations at affected airports, giving customers advance notice, and we expect the vast majority to be rebooked on alternative flights within 24 hours. .”

With an average easyJet plane seating 175 people, and assuming each one is 85% full, flights of 1.5 million passengers are estimated to be affected.

EasyJet shares have been hit harder than those of its rivals during the pandemic.

The airline’s board of directors, led by chairman Stephen Hester, the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, is believed to have come under pressure from major institutional investors late last year to stem the decline and return the business to profitability. As soon as possible.

Budget rival Ryanair said on Monday it would rescue passengers hit by travel disruptions.

The Irish carrier, Europe’s biggest, has launched 200 flights on routes from 19 UK airports for families whose services are being canceled by British Airways, Tui and easyJet.

Ryanair said it continues to run a full flight schedule despite the malaise faced by the aviation industry at large.

A spokesperson for the airline added: “UK families can now rest easy knowing that Ryanair will take them to/from their summer holiday destination to enjoy a well-deserved break with friends and family.”

A spokesperson for Heathrow said: “We apologize unreservedly for the disruption passengers have faced over the course of this weekend.

“Technical issues affecting baggage systems have led us to make the decision to ask airlines operating in Terminals 2 and 3 to consolidate their schedules on Monday, June 20th.

“This will allow us to minimize the ongoing impact and we ask that all passengers check with their airline for the latest information.”

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