Two of Europe’s Biggest Airlines Announce New Cancellations

Two of Europe’s biggest airlines announced another round of cancellations, adding to the disruption turning the travel sector’s pandemic recovery summer into a nightmare.

Air France KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France, plans to cancel up to 20 roundtrip flights daily to European destinations until August’s end. Deutsche Lufthansa AG stated that it would cancel 770 flights over the next week.

Unprecedented bottlenecks in Europe’s aviation sector have caused long wait times at check-in counters at European airports, from London Heathrow to Brussels and Dusseldorf (Germany). These problems were brought about by the Pandemic, staffing shortages, and labor disputes. They are coming back to haunt the airlines just like travel is back in the summer.

Some airports are seeing a lot of baggage due to flights being grounded.

Three days of strikes last week at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport left tens of thousands of bags stranded at France’s biggest international hub. Clement Beaune (French Transport Minister) said on Friday that it could take up to one week for thousands of bags remaining at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.

Evening flights

KLM’s measures are designed to “calm” operational stress on staff at the airport and within the airline, the carrier said in a statement Friday.

Lufthansa has reduced the number of summer flights by about 3900. According to a spokeswoman, the airline’s new cancellations, most affecting night flights, are intended to avoid disruption of other connections.

To ease pressure on their operations, the two airlines have attempted to lower ticket sales to help reduce demand. KLM will “strongly restrict” remaining ticket sales on its Cityhopper and European routes to allow customers whose flights were canceled to rebook, the carrier said. Lufthansa has decided to sell all remaining July tickets starting at 500 euro ($506.50/leg), so even an economy-class roundtrip between Frankfurt and Berlin will cost 1,000 Euro.

KLM’s move comes on top of an already significant cap in ticket sales by the airline, after the Schiphol hub took drastic measures to limit capacity this summer due to a shortage of security staff.

Spokesperson: A lack of baggage handlers left many suitcases unattended at the Dutch airport.

—With assistance from Cagan Koc.

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