180,000 holidaymakers have been hit by Easyjet summer flight cancellations this morning, as the airline battles with the ongoing impacts of French Air Traffic Controller (ATC) walk-outs and the war in Ukraine.
Around 1,700 departures in July, August and September are set to be grounded, with the majority of flights affected at Gatwick Airport, where Easyjet operates a quarter of its fleet.
Easyjet said 95 per cent of passengers had been rebooked onto other flights.
A spokesperson said this morning: “The whole industry is seeing challenging conditions this summer with more constrained air space due to the war in Ukraine resulting in unprecedented ATC delays, as well as further potential ATC strike action.
“We have therefore made some pre-emptive adjustments to our programme consolidating a small number of flights at Gatwick, where we have multiple daily frequencies, in order to help mitigate these external challenges on the day of travel for our customers and we continue to operate around over 90,000 flights over this period.”
Carriers are facing tremendous difficulties ahead of what is expected to be a record summer of travel.
ATC restrictions as a result of France’s ongoing pension strikes and airspace closures due to the war in Ukraine have caused major disruption across Europe.
Easyjet said today that Gatwick had been more adversely affected by the ATC action than other hubs, due to how constrained the airport is.
Its budget rival Ryanair recently hit out at the EU commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen for failing to protect overflights – flights into another territory – from the ATC walk-outs.
Michael O’Leary’s outfit said earlier this month that it had cancelled 900 flights in June, ahead of the critical summer getaway.
Commenting on the cancellations, Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “For context, these cancellations only represent a small percentage of the total summer departures.
“Disruption because of congested airspace is an issue facing the airline industry during this very busy period but it’s essential that airlines do all they can to ensure that there is as little disruption to travellers as possible and work to ensure that consumer confidence in the travel industry remains high.”