International travel continues on its upward trend and with it the number of flight cancellations and delays. In what it’s been called “revenge travel”, consumers don’t seem to be deterred by high prices. Meanwhile, airports and airlines keep struggling to cope with the spike in demand and lack of staff.
According to data recently released by Hopper Inc, the Goldman Sacks-backed online travel agency whose roots are in aviation and big data, Brussels Airport has had more delays than any other European airport. Despite having relatively no issues with queues at check-in and security, more than 70% of its flights were delayed, according to Hopper. Brussels Airport performed worse than Frankfurt (68% of flight delayed) followed by Eindhoven (67%).
Several airports across Europe have had to throttle the number of flights to try to offer a guarranteed minimum service to passengers. In early July, London’s Heathrow airport asked airlines to stop selling summer tickets as travel chaos worsened. Heathrow, which was Europe’s busiest airport until the Covid-19 pandemic, revealed in a statement that it has introduced a limit of 100,000 passengers flying each day amid growing chaos at airports and airlines around the world.
The daily number of passengers has often exceeded 100,000 and this has resulted in long queues, lost baggage and flight delays and cancellations, said Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye, quoted by Business Insider. “If you are considering using any of the 10 busiest European airports, you should consider changing your travel plans,” a Bloomberg report explained.
Heathrow staff are putting every effort into making sure passengers fly, but we can’t put them at risk for their own safety and well-beingJohn Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive
The list includes air terminals in key cities such as Paris, Lisbon, Frankfurt and London, among others. And while the British capital may be the most prominent example of airport dysfunction in this summer of travel hell, it’s not the worst, according to Bloomberg.
According to data released by Hopper Inc, Heathrow isn’t even among the 10 worst airports in Europe for delays this month. It ranks 15th on that list, with an average of 51% of its flights delayed since the beginning of July.
Hopper’s data is compiled by Official Aviation Guide, a leading provider of digital flight information and analytics for airports, airlines and travel technology companies, to keep customers informed about disruptions to their booked routes. The figures, which reflect a three-day delay, are more up-to-date than any public data source.
According to Business Insider, the growing chaos at airports comes amid a huge increase in the number of passengers traveling after the pandemic shutdown. Heathrow said that by the end of May it had already surpassed the total number of passengers it served in 2021. Add to that the airlines’ difficulties in staffing up after the heavy cuts they made in 2020.
Among the best performing airports were Madrid (Barajas), with a delay rate of 19%, Marseille (20%) and Orly (21%) in France, and Malaga (24%).
Europe’s top 10 airports for on-time departures
- Bergamo/Orio al Serio Airport (BGY) Bergamo, Italy 3 %delayed, 1 % canceled
- Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) Gran Canaria, Spain 8 % delayed, 0.3 % canceled
- Otopeni International Airport (OTP) Bucharest, Romania 10 % delayed, 1.7 % canceled
- Dublin International Airport (DUB )Dublin, Ireland 15 % delayed, 1.6 % canceled
- Fontanarossa Airport (CTA) Catania, Italy 16 % delayed, 1.1 % canceled
- Adolfo Suárez-Barajas Airport (MAD) Madrid, Spain 19 % delayed, 0.4 % canceled
- Alicante Airport (ALC) Alicante Province, Spain 20 % delayed, 3.4 % canceled
- Marseille Airport (MRS) Marseille, France 20 % delayed, 2.0 % canceled
- Orly Field (ORY) Paris, France 21% delayed, 1.2 % canceled
- Malaga Airport (AGP) Malaga, Spain 24 % delayed, 3.3 % canceled