Just one day after announcing the cancellation of 1,500 flights from the summer schedule, British Airways has released a new statement to say that 10,300 more short-haul flights will be cancelled from August to the end of October.
While the airline hopes these will be the last cuts it has to make, there is no certainty that will be the case. Less than a month ago it also cancelled 8,000 flights from the summer schedule. Faced with the recovery of air traffic as Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifting worldwide, the airline is left uncapable of fulfilling the demand.
BA has continued to promote and sell flights it could not fulfil, even as thousands of customers have faced the chaos of cancellations in recent weeks.Rory Boland, editor of Which?
During the pandemic, airlines decided to lay off a lot of staff to save up, but now that air traffic is almost completely back to 2019 levels, they are struggling to recruit back enough personnel. On top of the labour shortage, a good number of employees still get infected with Covid-19, reducing the staff availability even more. Consequently, thousands of flights have to be cancelled because there are simply not enough people to operate them.
To reduce the impact on passengers, the UK Department for Transport (DfT), asked airlines operating in the country to give up airport slots they are not completely sure they can fulfil, with the deadline set for this Friday. The idea is that, hopefully, all the cancellations will be announced in time for travellers to reschedule their flights and have a minimum impact on their holidays.
We do not support this latest slot waiver regulation from the UK government, which has been handed out for the benefit of airlines who failed to adequately prepare for the return of air travel post Covid.Ryanair
On the other hand, Ryanair, which is the only airline that did not fire staff during the pandemic, but lowered the employees’ salaries instead, is one of the few carriers that has an unaffected summer schedule. They consider them the beginning of reduced connectivity and blame the other airlines for not preparing better for the season. “These slot waivers will lead to fewer flights and reduced connectivity, which will ultimately harm competition and lead to higher fares for hard-pressed UK consumers”, reads their statement.