December 6, 2023

Flight cancellations soar due to staff Covid absences

More than 1,100 flights to and from the UK were cancelled last week as airlines struggle to cope with Covid absences among staff.

According to figures from aviation analytics firm Cirium, there were a total of 1,143 flight cancellations to and from the UK last week.

This compares with only 197 cancellations during the same period in 2019.

British Airways cancelled 662 flights to and from the UK last week –2,548% more than the same period in 2019.

EasyJet also cancelled a total of 357 flights last week, 192 over the weekend.

Problems are continuing into this week, with British Airways telling customers on Monday it was receiving a high volume of messages and that call volumes are “extremely high” due to the “current situation”.

Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “This is a staggering level of flight cancellations caused by a cocktail of not having enough staff in place and Covid-induced staff shortages.

“Airlines are certainly seeing a high level of demand to fly but are simply unable to cope with that demand due to a lack of resources. It’s a nightmare situation for airlines and airports at the moment.”