European travel runs into pandemic cutbacks

24 June 2022
2022-06-24 15:09

After two years of pandemic restrictions, travel demand has roared back, but airlines and airports that slashed jobs during the depths of the COVID-19 crisis are struggling to keep up.

Thousands of pilots, cabin crew, baggage handlers and other aviation industry workers were laid off during the pandemic, and now there's not enough to cope with the travel rebound.

Henk Ombelet, Head of Finance at Cirium said "What's been happening with the air travel in Europe is that it's come back and that in a way is a very good thing. After the pandemic, people want to travel again and airlines are seeing a huge surge in demand. However, this surge in demand has created some problems. Airlines have gone through a very difficult time over the past two years, have had to furlough people, lay off people. And with demand coming back now very quick and perhaps quicker than we all expected, they find themselves short of staff."  

With the busy summer tourism season underway in Europe, passengers are encountering chaotic scenes at airports, including lengthy delays, canceled flights and headaches over lost luggage.

Nearly 2,000 flights from major continental European airports were canceled during one week this month. A further 376 flights were canceled from U.K. airports, with Heathrow accounting for 28%.

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