Britain’s biggest budget airline says disrupted passengers can’t all expect same-day replacement flights
Britain’s biggest budget airline has confirmed it will cull hundreds of flights this summer as it struggles with its promised schedule.
Rather than running 97 per cent of the pre-Covid summer programme, easyJet now expects to operate 90 per cent.
After a weekend in which dozens of flights were grounded at short notice, the airline said: “Demand for travel has returned with April and May passengers seven times the same months last year.
“Given the unprecedented ramp up, the aviation industry across Europe is experiencing operational issues with root causes similar to the post-Covid supply chain issues being seen in many other parts of the economy.
“The challenges include air traffic control delays and staff shortages in ground handling and at airports, resulting in increased aircraft turnaround times and delayed departures which have a knock-on effect resulting in flight cancellations.
“A very tight labour market for the whole ecosystem including crew, compounded by increased ID check times, has reduced planned resilience further.
“This is reflected in the flight caps announced recently at two of our biggest airports, London Gatwick and Amsterdam.
“In response to these caps and in order to build additional resilience, easyJet is proactively consolidating a number of flights across affected airports.
“This provides customers with advance notice and the potential to rebook onto alternative flights. Given easyJet’s high frequency network, we expect to be able to rebook the majority of customers on alternative flights, with many being on the same day as originally booked for.”
The Civil Aviation Authority last week told airlines that passengers whose flights are cancelled should be able to travel on the same day if any seat is available – including on rival carriers.
But easyJet maintains that if it can offer an alternative within 24 hours it need not pay for flights on other airlines.
The chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said: “We are sorry that for some customers we have not been able to deliver the service they have come to expect from us.
“While in recent weeks the action we have taken to build in further resilience has seen us continue to operate up to 1,700 flights and carry up to a quarter of a million customers a day, the ongoing challenging operating environment has unfortunately continued to have an impact which has resulted in cancellations.
“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.”
On Friday easyJet’s main base, Gatwick airport, said it was placing a cap of 825 movements per day in July and 850 in August, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Passengers who are told of cancellations at least 14 days ahead are not entitled to compensation.