British Airways cancels more than 10,000 short haul flights between now and October
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If you’ve booked a seat on British Airways between now and October, you really will want to sit down: the struggling airline has just revealed it is to cut 10,300 short-haul flights across its operations.
The latest bombshell from BA execs comes just days after 105,000 passengers were set to be affected by 1,300 cancellations this summer. This now looks like a drop in the ocean as well over a million passengers, chiefly at London Gatwick (LGW) and London Heathrow (LHR), scramble to alter travel plans.
By our conservative estimate (looking at BA’s short-haul flight capacities in addition to its cancelled schedule) this could easily affect more than one million passengers, with our worse case estimates being around the region of 1.5million passengers if the cancelled flights were busy or close to capacity.
The latest wave of cancellations for European flights represents roughly 13% of the carrier’s entire flight roster going into autumn — and that’s without any long-haul services, which may also be cut if the havoc continues.
Might it be that BA’s new COO René De Groot, formerly of KLM and who started this week, has had a say in the decision to axe over 10,000 flights over four months? He might have deemed it the collective kick-up the backside the company needs.
”We took pre-emptive action earlier this year to reduce our summer schedule to provide customers with as much notice as possible about any changes to their travel plans,” a BA spokesperson said.
“As the entire aviation industry continues to face the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions. We’re in touch with customers to apologise and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund.”
There’s already panic in the air for passengers who have been hit by late cancellations with BA and who have been unable to rebook flights on similar routes:
Despite a newly released 22-point government strategy to help the travel sector, it’s feared that the guidelines still won’t be enough to help airports and airlines with the pressure they face and could even result in more cancellations, rather than a true handle on the current scenes of chaos.
Although due to the very fact Heathrow has begun to ask airlines to streamline some of their programmes, it does suggest that at least some of the points have been heard.
July is shaping up to be a stressful month for those flying with BA which is also contending with the possibility of Industrial action. Unite and GMB union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking last month with walkouts by around 700 BA check-in and ground staff at Heathrow currently expected to go ahead in late July or early August.
The ballot ended in late June, but no dates have been announced as yet. Any strikes, of course, could cease to go ahead if the dispute between BA and workers – largely focused on a pandemic pay cut of 10% that unions say has yet to be restored – is resolved.
The original cancellation also landed on the same day (Thursday, 30 June) that Heathrow asked airlines to cut 30 flights – meaning there were sudden morning cancellations for BA, Aer Lingus, Air France, American Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic services, affecting a reported 4,500 passengers.
For more on the ongoing strike issues engulfing the aviation world, click here.
Featured image by British Airways
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