Easyjet to cancel more flights this summer

Low-cost airline easyJet will cut more flights in the coming weeks as it struggles to meet surging demand. Tony McDonough reports

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Passengers face more delays and cancellations on easyJet this summer. Picture by David Parry/PA Wire

 

Passengers face more delays and cancellations over the next few weeks, low-cost airline easyJet is warning.

In the last few weeks passengers at airports across the UK have faced multiple delays and cancellations. Staffing shortages at airports and airlines had left the aviation sector struggling to cope with a post-COVID surge in demand.

While Liverpool Airport has seen relatively few problems, passengers at airports including Manchester and Gatwick have experienced multiple problems. These include delayed and cancelled flights and long queues through security.

In a trading update on Monday, easyJet said its plan to operate at 97% of pre-COVID capacity between July and September would have to be revised. It has scaled planned capacity back to 90% of pre-pandemic levels. Gatwick and Amsterdam’s Schiphol airports have said they are imposing limits on the number of flights.

The carrier, which operates 25 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, put out a trading update on Monday. It said it was not able to say exactly how many flights would be cancelled but insisted passengers would get advance notice.

In the statement easyJet said: “The aviation industry across Europe is experiencing operational issues with root causes similar to the post-covid supply chain issues being seen in many other parts of the economy.

“The challenges include air traffic control delays and staff shortages in ground handling and at airports, resulting in increased aircraft turnaround times and delayed departures which have a knock-on effect resulting in flight cancellations.

“A very tight labour market for the whole ecosystem including crew, compounded by increased ID check times, has reduced planned resilience further.”

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In the three months ending June 30, easyJet said it was on course to have operated around 140,000 flights, carrying around 22m passengers. Demand for travel has returned with April and May passengers seven times the same months in 2021.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said: “Delivering a safe and reliable operation for our customers in this challenging environment is easyJet’s highest priority. We are sorry that for some customers we have not been able to deliver the service they have come to expect from us.

“While in recent weeks the action we have taken to build in further resilience has seen us continue to operate up to 1,700 flights and carry up to 250,000 customers a day, the ongoing challenging operating environment has unfortunately continued to have an impact which has resulted in cancellations.

“Coupled with airport caps, we are taking pre-emptive actions to increase resilience over the balance of summer. These include a range of further flight consolidations in the affected airports. We are giving advance notice to customers and we expect the vast majority to be rebooked on alternative flights within 24 hours.

“We believe this is the right action for us to take so we can deliver for all of our customers over the peak summer period in this challenging environment.”

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