“Cancelled” is the last thing you want to see next to your flight number on the airport departure board.
Unfortunately, this has been the unfortunate reality for some Britons planning to fly abroad or home in late May and early June as chaos rages at several UK airports.
Out of 10,662 scheduled flights for the Over the anniversary weekend, 305 of them got the ax – affecting thousands of passengers, according to aeronautical data company Cirium data (via BBC).
And both Easter and the May half-term week (for many in England and Wales) saw major disruption and disappointment, no doubt worrying many holidaymakers lining up for a future summer holiday.
So what’s causing all these canceled flights, and could it all be sorted out by summer?
Here’s what we know.
Why are airlines canceling flights?
A number of factors appear to be at the root of the current situation.
Staff shortages at airlines and airports are the main reason – given the pandemic’s impact on the airline and travel industries, which is resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs.
easyJet tells Metro.co.uk on June 9 that a “challenging operating environment” was to blame.
What contributes to this environment? Everything from possible problems on the ground at airports to the recent strikes in Italy and France.
Many cancellations have been last-minute — far from ideal — while others have been planned for some time in anticipation of these types of issues.
What airlines have said about recently canceled flights
Metro.co.uk asked some airlines for their feedback on the current flight chaos on June 9th.
Here’s what they said:
‘easyJet continues to operate up to around 1,700 flights and carries around a quarter of a million customers every day.
“Unfortunately, due to the ongoing challenging operating environment, we continue to see an impact on our day-to-day operations, resulting in a low rate of flight cancellations. We continue to monitor this closely and, where possible, take steps in advance to offer customers pre-travel rebooking options.
“We are very sorry and fully understand the disruption this will have caused to our customers. We offer rebooking or refund options, as well as hotel accommodation and meals if required, as well as information on how to quickly arrange this online or via the app.’
British Airways (BA)
“It has been a challenging time for the entire industry and at British Airways we are fully focused on three priorities: our customers, supporting the largest recruitment campaign in our history and building our operational resilience.
“We have taken responsible preventive measures to change our flight schedule to offer our customers greater peace of mind, giving them maximum flexibility to rebook either with us or another airline as close to their original departure time as possible, or to receive a full refund receive.’
“Ryanair operated a full flight schedule with no cancellations (due to staff shortages) to/from the UK in May and again this past weekend 3rd-5th June.
“Ryanair expects to operate all scheduled services to/from UK airports this summer, with the only risk of ATC or airport clearance delays.”
“Jet2.com has not canceled any flights due to staff shortages.
“We run a huge flight program and take many thousands of customers on and off their well-deserved vacation. We receive positive feedback from many satisfied customers thanks to our dedicated teams who continue to work tirelessly to provide the best customer service in the industry.
“You only have to look at our busy check-in counters to see the difference between us and other airlines. We have taken steps to recruit well ahead of the recovery and as such we have a highly visible uniformed presence (referred to as the Red Team) at our UK airports as well as our main overseas airports and resorts.
“Of course we are aware that some customers may experience delays elsewhere in the airport, for example going through security, but this is completely beyond our control.”
Virgin did not cancel any passenger flights during the May half-term, saying:
“As customer demand increases, we are working hard to ensure rides continue as smoothly as possible while maintaining a normal schedule as we have done over the past few weeks.
“We have been preparing for the return of passengers in greater numbers and a busy summer time for many months. This includes preventive measures to maintain operational and personal resilience, such as B. A recruitment campaign in January for 400 flight attendants and 30 pilots and a holding pool program introduced during the pandemic from which we have brought more than 1,000 of our employees back demand returned.
“Together with the government, swift and coordinated action must be taken to ensure airports and border forces are ready for the summer, to ensure we can fly all our customers to their destinations and holidays and maintain the best possible experience.”
We have also reached out to TUI Airways and Wizz Air and will update when we receive feedback.
Could the flight disruption be resolved by summer?
Realistically, the disruption will continue for a while – before things start to pick up again.
said Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy Travel Weekly on May 31: “As bad as it gets, I think things will get better from here.
“All the companies I know are working on hiring people, so it’s getting better.”
It is important to note that many flights are still operating each day, even for airlines that have canceled flights.
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) wrote in a news bulletin: “Part of our message to the media was to stress that the vast majority of people could travel normally.
“While some people have struggled, which is clearly disappointing and frustrating for those involved, for most passengers the daily news reports do not reflect reality, so providing that context was necessary to bolster consumer confidence.”
All in all, things won’t be back to normal right away for a while.
That’s what Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said The Mirror: “I think it will take 12 to 18 months for the aviation sector to fully restore capacity.”
There is also a possibility of strikes here in the UK, perhaps in the summer.
Unite union members are currently voting on a possible strike by 500 Heathrow workers over pandemic wage cuts – which if voted in favor could potentially cause further disruption for British Airways in July.
If you’re concerned, here’s how to check your flight status and canceled flight policies for relevant airlines – and what compensation is available for delays or cancellations.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/09/why-are-airlines-cancelling-flights-and-could-it-be-fixed-by-summer-16799077/ Why are airlines canceling flights and could this be fixed by the summer?