After the Covid-19 pandemic affected the aviation industry, it was in a state of disarray. A perfect storm of staff shortages and strikes is forcing airlines to rethink their summer travel plans.
Airline staff, many in the United States, were reduced to around 90,000 while international mobility was brought to a halt. European-based companies also lowered their staff, with Airbus and easyJet as two prime examples.
Despite those cost-saving measures, passengers for leisure and business flights have recovered to exceed pre-pandemic levels. However, those shortages have caused havoc.
British Airways cut back on flights on Tuesday out of London’s Heathrow Airport. The decision came after the airport asked airlines to trim passenger numbers.
This leads to the question, what are other airlines doing this summer?
1) Ticket caps
The Dutch airline KLM will restrict ticket sales for flights between Amsterdam and other cities between September and October due to Schiphol Airport placing an intake limit on the number of departing passengers.
Although the airline does not expect cancellations to be necessary to meet the airport’s limits, it warns that “fewer seats than usual will be available in the Dutch market.”
2) Schedule adjustments
At the start of summer, the German carrier Lufthansa made some adjustments to its schedule and canceled 3,000 flights from Frankfurt and Munich. Earlier changes were made with the intention of lessening the burden on the entire system and supplying a dependable schedule.
In July, over 1,000 flights were canceled due to a staff walkout. There is no capacity restriction on passenger numbers at the moment.
In June, low-cost carrier easyJet revised its schedule following the announcement of passenger capacity caps at Amsterdam’s Schiphol and London’s Gatwick airports. Following this time, operations have returned to normal and the performance is now at a 2019 level.
It has been said that American Airlines had to make a short notice cancellation due to Heathrow’s recent cap on its passenger level, according to the company. It refused to comment on how this situation will be affected in the future when contacted by CNBC.
Swiss International flights that were supposed to be completed in July through October were canceled. The airline said the changes were “become necessary due to known constraints in air traffic control in Europe, constraints at ground and airport service providers worldwide and also at SWISS.”
3) Business as usual
Dubai’s Emirates Airlines have not made any alterations to their schedules or passenger counts since July, when they refused to comply with Heathrow’s capacity restrictions.
Austrian Airlines is running its summer flight schedule according to plan.
Ryanair says it has “no plans to cap passenger numbers” and that its capacity is currently at 115% of what it was pre-Covid.
According to Chief Executive Michael O’Leary, the recovery remains fragile.