British Airways cancels 10,300 more flights

British Airways is canceling another 10,300 flights during the summer season as it grapples with a staffing crisis that has wreaked havoc across Europe’s aviation sector.”

Due to the latest round of cancellations that followed others earlier this week, the IAG SA division will cut roughly 13 percent of its schedule from April to October, it said in a statement Wednesday. Only short haul routes are affected.

BA was among the carriers hardest hit by the workforce shortages being felt across the region, after laying off 10,000 employees at the peak of the Covid pandemic. The latest move comes after the UK government lifted rules requiring airlines to use airport jobs or lose them next season.

“While moving forward is not what we wanted, it is the right thing to do,” the airline said in an email. “This new flexibility means we can further shorten our schedule and combine some of our quieter flights so we can protect as many of our holiday flights as possible.”

Passengers will be able to rebook with British Airways or another airline or receive a full refund, the release said. On Tuesday, BA had already extended its summer schedule cut to 11 percent. Almost 30,000 flights have been eliminated with the latest announcement.

Earlier Wednesday, the carrier said it was hiring the chief operating officer of Dutch rival KLM to focus on improving operational resilience and increasing headcount to reduce the shortfall.

Output looms

BA is also fighting strike threats. Last month, some check-in workers at its main London airport, Heathrow, said they would leave during the peak holiday period due to a 10 per cent pay cut introduced during the pandemic, with dates likely to be set soon.

Rival carriers are experiencing similar upheavals: KLM is cutting flights due to passenger capacity restrictions at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and EasyJet Plc has been hit by restrictions at both its Dutch hub and its main London base in Gatwick.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG canceled a total of 3,100 flights last month in July and August and faced anger from employees ahead of a supervisory board meeting late Wednesday night to discuss the flight disruption.

Shares of IAG closed up 2.8% ahead of the announcement of flight cuts. Bloomberg News

Image credits: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg