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LONDON / FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Low cost airline Easyjet cancels thousands of flights due to acute shortage of staff at airports and on board.
The offered capacity will be 87 percent. pre-crisis level of 2019 in the current quarter and 90%. in the summer quarter, Easyjet announced on Monday. So far, 90 percent is scheduled for this quarter and 97 percent, or about 160,000 flights, for the next quarter, is the peak tourist season. Bottlenecks in hiring flight crew and longer waiting times for security passes for new employees are causing problems for the airline. Easyjet also needs to adapt its London Gatwick and Amsterdam flight schedules as airports are countering the growing problems caused by insufficient ground staff by reducing the number of flights.
Easyjet is therefore taking preventive measures to stabilize the processes during the summer months, explained Easyjet chief Johan Lundgren. Cancellations now largely prevent last minute flight cancellations. This would allow customers to change their booking early. This entails higher costs for airlines which cannot yet be quantified. From April to June, the British airline has approximately 22 million passengers on approximately 140,000 flights.
HITS EVERYWHERE IN EUROPE
According to Lundgren, details of the flight cancellations will be announced shortly. The focus is on the main location of Gatwick and Amsterdam airlines. However, there are operational problems across Europe, for example in Paris and Geneva. As already known, from the beginning of June to the end of August, Easyjet cancels around a dozen departures and arrivals a day at its most important German departure point in Berlin – this means that around 1,000 connections will be lost in the summer. The airline also justified this with the extremely high rate of sick leave. In the UK, the low-cost airline has problems hiring workers from EU countries due to Brexit.
In the coming months, many airports in Europe will be in chaos, with long waiting times at security checks and at baggage carousels due to a serious shortage of staff on the ground. Flight cancellations and delays are increasing. According to the airport association ADV, around 20 percent of the seats at German airports are unfilled. Lufthansa canceled 900 flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs in July alone to relieve the airports during rush hour. The industry is working with the federal government on ways to prevent chaos in the long-awaited strong improvement in air traffic following the outbreak of the corona pandemic.
In Europe, 600,000 jobs were lost in the aviation corona crisis and 2.3 million jobs were lost worldwide. Ground service has suffered the most, according to industry association Air Transport Action Group. Many employees were looking for alternatives to jobs that involved shift work and heavy manual labor, such as baggage handling. Young colleagues come and go the very next day, said Marie Marivel, who works in security control at the airport in Paris, with a net salary of 1,800 euros per month. “They tell us: for such responsible work we earn as much as cashiers in supermarkets.”
The bottleneck may last longer than summer as older workers retire and fewer young people are interested in working at the airport, said Rico Luman, an analyst at ING Bank. “Even if there is a recession, the labor market will remain tight this year at least,” he added.
(Report by Paul Sandle, Toby Sterling, Caroline Pailliez, Tim Hepher; written by Ilona Wissenbach. Edited by Olaf Brenner. If you have any questions, please contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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