Around 900 flights for the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend have been cut from flight schedules since July.
UK flights planned for 26 to 30 August were 14,030 with an estimated 2.4 million seats on 1 July but data recently released by aviation analytics firm Cirium shows that numbers went down by 6.4 per cent.
Compared to 2019 levels, services for the extended weekend went down by 21 per cent.
According to Francesco Ragni, professor of aviation at Buckinghamshire New University, such a staggering amount of cuts is testament to the impact of this summer’s operational issues, which caused disruptions to thousands of Brits and threatened to bring the industry to its knees.
“These numbers demonstrate the economic damage caused by operational issues such as labour shortages,” he told City A.M. “Cutting 900 flights means leaving up to 100,000 on the ground in one of the busiest weekends of the year.
“This will certainly lead to a significant loss of potential revenue.”
Figures revealed that British Airways (BA) had cut the highest number of flights, 380, followed by Flybe, with 130, and Easyjet, with 90.
A Flybe spokesperson said the cancellations – from 28 July to 29 October – were due to a delay in the delivery of aircraft.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we understand the disappointment and frustrations
these cancellations will cause and sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected,” they said.
The legacy carrier had a difficult summer, plagued by travel chaos and threatened by strike action.
To guarantee a smoother run of operations amid labour shortages and a soaring demand, BA was forced to cancel 20 per cent of its summer schedule.
Following Heathrow’s decision to cap the daily number of departing passengers to 100,000 and the cap’s consequent extension to the end of October, BA cut around 10,000 flights from its winter schedule.
“While the vast majority of our customers will travel as planned and we’re protecting key holiday destinations over half-term, we will need to make some further cancellations up to the end of October,” a company spokesperson said on 22 August.
“In addition, we’re giving customers travelling with us this winter notice of some adjustments to our schedule, which will include consolidating some of our short-haul flights to destinations with multiple services.”