European airports have recorded a record number of flight cancellations. The main reason, according to the airlines, is personnel shortage: tens of thousands of workers engaged in the airline industry were dismissed during the coronavirus pandemic, and now these vacancies are difficult to fill. The situation is exacerbated by ongoing strikes across Europe by airport ground personnel and flight crews asking for higher wages and better working conditions.
On Wednesday, July 15, Lufthansa, the largest German airline, announced that it would cancel another 2,000 flights from Frankfurt am Main and Munich by the end of August, resulting in the total number of summer cancellations of about 3.8 thou. flights.
French media sources report record queues, hours-long delays and frequent cancellations at Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports, where about 4,000 employees were dismissed during the pandemic. Almost 1,500 flights have been cancelled in Norway due to a strike by SAS pilots.
A record number of flights have been cancelled at major British airports, primarily at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick, where there is an acute maintenance personnel shortage. British Airways, the largest airline in the UK, has announced the cancellation of 30,000 flights at British airports from April to October.
The represented data apply foremost to passenger traffic. However, the decrease in passenger air traffic also reduces the volume of carriage capacity of the air freight market, since the freight areas of passenger aircrafts are also used for the carriage of goods.