EasyJet trims June flight schedule in bid to avoid further airport chaos | easyJet

EasyJet has reduced its flight schedule for the rest of June in a bid to overcome the travel chaos seen in the school holidays when staff shortages meant thousands of people were hit by last-minute cancellations.

Britain’s biggest carrier has come under fire for its handling of the disruption which also saw passengers endure long delays. In a message to staff on Friday, its chief operating officer, Peter Bellew, said the carrier was making pre-emptive cancellations for the “coming days and weeks” to “increase resilience across the network”.

“Making these cancellations is not something we take lightly but what’s worse is to cancel our customers’ plans on the day that they are ready to fly,” Bellew said in the message shared with the Guardian. “We’re all aware of the impact the current situation is having on our customers, our people and our reputation.”

The airline was also working on a plan to remedy issues “within our own operations that are in our control”, he said, adding: “We also want to ensure that we have the correct mitigations in place for the issues affecting the industry.”

Bellew said: “We want to share the plan on this very soon however, we also need to deal with the immediate operation. We’re making some pre-emptive cancellations for the coming days and weeks in order to increase resilience across the network.”

The aviation industry has quarreled to cope with the huge bounce back in demand for flights and holidays following the lifting of Covid travel restrictions. This is blamed on wasting staffing levels both in the air and on the ground as thousands of workers either lost their jobs or found new roles with other companies during the pandemic.

The recent eleventh-hour cancellations made by easyJet have been contrasted with the more decisive action taken by the likes of British Airways which back in May cut a tenth of its flight schedules until October – the equivalent of 8,000 round trips – after struggling over Easter.

“Due to the ongoing impact of the challenging operating environment on our daily, we have made a small proportion of additional advance flight cancellations for June,” said an easyJet operations, who said 40 flights a day to-and-from the UK, out of a total of around 1,700, were affected. “We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will cause.”

“We are informing customers in advance to minimise the impact on their plans and provide the option to rebook before traveling or receive a refund, and our customer service hours have been extended to support affected customers,” the said added. “We continue to monitor the operation closely and take action in advance as needed.”

With airlines including easyJet forced to cancel flights over the weekend, Martin Chalk, the general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, said that the “more notice you give a passenger the better”, as “when airlines get their planning wrong, it is the staff that feels the heat of customers’ dissatisfaction.”

“We would much prefer that airlines were upfront with their passengers because it is then easier to manage the ongoing operations. When customers are left in the cold without their service that is much harder for staff to deal with,” Chalk said.

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