easyJet said it didn’t know how many flights it will have to cancel to best manage the ongoing travel chaos at airports across Europe, including Gatwick and Amsterdam Schiphol.
The news comes after the London hub said on Friday it would be forced to axe daily flights from more than 900 to 825 and 850 in July and August.
A Heathrow spokesperson followed into the hub’s footsteps and today asked carriers operating in terminals 2 and 3 – including BA and Virgin Atlantic – to reduce flights by 10 per cent, in a move that will affect 5,000 people.
The airline’s boss Johan Lundgren said the carrier still needs “to work this through.”
“I can’t tell you how many flights will be impacted,” Lundgren told reporters this morning. “It would be misleading for me to give any numbers today because we simply don’t know.”
In a trading update published this morning, easyJet announced passenger capacity would be around 87 per cent of 2019 levels in the three months ending 30 June, going up to 90 per cent in the following quarter.
The airline added that it was expecting a cost impact from the ongoing disruption, but it would be a one-off.
“We believe that these capacity/cost impacts are a one-off this summer as we would expect all parties to build greater resilience in time for 2023 peak periods,” easyJet said this morning.
Following the announcement, Liberum’s analysts cut the company’s target price from 800p to 500p.
According to Lundgren, labour shortages responsible for the travel chaos in the UK were worsened by the post-Brexit labour market.
Treasury’s chief secretary Simon Clarke denied post-Brexit immigration policies were to blame for the issue.
“I do not accept that this is simply a direct effect from Brexit,” he told Sky News. “We will do our part as a Government to make sure our side of things is right, from issues like passports to border control.
“The airlines need to do their part of things”.
The chief secretary’s comments echoed those of aviation minister Robert Courts who last week said that workforce shortages were a global issues, affecting the UK but also the US and continental Europe.
“If there were aviation workers spare on the continent of Europe, you’d expect them to be [working] at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and solve the [hub’s disruption] issues but that isn’t happening,” Courts told a BEIS committee meeting on Tuesday.