Australia markets close in 4 hours 23 minutes
  • ALL ORDS

    7,226.90
    -23.40 (-0.32%)
     
  • ASX 200

    6,990.40
    -25.20 (-0.36%)
     
  • AUD/USD

    0.6923
    +0.0011 (+0.15%)
     
  • OIL

    88.57
    -0.44 (-0.49%)
     
  • GOLD

    1,790.80
    -0.40 (-0.02%)
     
  • BTC-AUD

    33,512.04
    +182.12 (+0.55%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    539.45
    +4.23 (+0.79%)
     
  • AUD/EUR

    0.6800
    +0.0015 (+0.22%)
     
  • AUD/NZD

    1.1078
    +0.0006 (+0.05%)
     
  • NZX 50

    11,678.07
    -50.40 (-0.43%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    13,207.69
    -103.31 (-0.78%)
     
  • FTSE

    7,439.74
    -8.32 (-0.11%)
     
  • Dow Jones

    32,803.47
    +76.67 (+0.23%)
     
  • DAX

    13,573.93
    -88.77 (-0.65%)
     
  • Hang Seng

    20,032.28
    -169.66 (-0.84%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,162.17
    -13.70 (-0.05%)
     

EasyJet cancellations to hit 1.5 million summer holidaymakers

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Easyjet flight cancellations travel summer holiday chaos airlines aviation staff shortage airport - REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Easyjet flight cancellations travel summer holiday chaos airlines aviation staff shortage airport - REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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

Around 10,000 services have been axed by the budget carrier following chaotic scenes at airports up and down the country since Covid restrictions were lifted.

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

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

Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said the airline is still working through precisely how many flights would be affected.

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

Separately, Heathrow airport cancelled one in 10 flights on Monday after pictures emerged over the weekend of a huge pile-up of passengers’ luggage.

Airlines, airports and ground handling companies have struggled to keep up with surging demand for trips abroad after Covid restrictions were lifted earlier this year.

Queues snaking out of terminal buildings, hours-long waits at security checkpoints and widespread cancellations have marred what was meant to be a turning point for an industry that was among those hit hardest by the pandemic.

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

The easyJet chief insisted that he was “not blaming” Brexit and admitted that his company had failed to prepare for the impact of the UK leaving the European bloc.

Nevertheless, he said that 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 cancelled more than 4,000 flights in the three months to the end of June.

The action had to be taken to avoid the repeat of chaotic scenes that first emerged as Britons jetted off during the Easter holidays.

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

The airline said it had taken the action following unprecedented restrictions by airports such as Gatwick and Amsterdam.
The carrier also blamed delays to a Government-overseen ID checking scheme that created a huge backlog in clearing new staff to begin work.

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

“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.

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

With an average easyJet plane holding 175 people, and assuming that each is 85pc full, an estimated 1.5 million passengers’ flights are likely to be affected.

EasyJet’s shares were hit harder than its rivals' during the pandemic.

The board of directors of the airline, led by chairman Stephen Hester, the former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland, is believed to have come under pressure from large institutional investors at the end of last year to arrest the decline and return the business to profitability as soon as possible.

Budget rival Ryanair said on Monday that it would spring to the rescue of passengers hit by travel disruption.

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

Ryanair said that it is continuing to run a full schedule of flights despite the malaise facing the wider aviation industry.

A spokesman for the airline added: “UK families can now rest easy in the knowledge that Ryanair will fly them to/from their summer holiday destination to enjoy some well-deserved time off with friends and family.”

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

“The technical issues affecting baggage systems have led to us making the decision to request airlines operating in Terminals 2 and 3 to consolidate their schedules on Monday June 20.

“This will enable us to minimise ongoing impact and we ask that all passengers check with their airlines for the latest information."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting