Frankfurt/Main · Demand for air travel is soaring after two years of the coronavirus pandemic. But airports and airlines do not yet have enough staff in place to cope with the surge. This will have an impact on the flight schedule during vacation season.
Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings are cutting their flight schedules during the month of July when many people go on vacation. This is due to staff shortages internally and with the ground and airport service providers. Lufthansa has taken 900 flights out of the system for July. Responding to an inquiry, the airline said on Wednesday that the flights affected are those within Germany and Europe at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.
The cancellations affect Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and are equivalent to five percent of planned capacity on weekends, it said. Eurowings is also cancelling several hundred flights to stabilize its service for the month of July.
Bottlenecks and staff shortages jeopardize flight schedules
The entire aviation industry, especially in Europe, is currently suffering from bottlenecks and staff shortages - from workers needed for passenger screening and aircraft handling to flight attendants. There are not enough employees since many have sought other jobs during the pandemic.
Lufthansa and Eurowings have implemented numerous measures to ensure the greatest possible stability of the flight schedule, Lufthansa stressed. "However, it is foreseeable that flight schedules cannot be flown as hoped due to the bottlenecks." Passengers will be informed immediately in the event of cancellations and, if possible, rebooked on other Lufthansa or Eurowings flights.
The airline is asking passengers to be at the airport on time during the upcoming vacation season and to use online check-in and the evening-before check-in if possible. Hand luggage should be reduced to the bare minimum to avoid long waiting times at security checkpoints.
Airlines ill-equipped for surge in travel
Following flight cancellations by major European airlines over the Whitsun weekend as a result of staff shortages, there was growing concern about chaotic conditions during the peak travel season. After staff leaving and layoffs during the pandemic, the industry still does not have enough employees on hand and ready to handle the travel demand.
"At all locations, service providers involved in passenger processing are about 20 percent short of ground staff compared to pre-Covid times. This can lead to bottlenecks at peak times, especially at check-in, when loading suitcases and in aviation security checks," Ralph Beisel, CEO of the German Airports Association (ADV), said recently.
(Orig. text: dpa / Translation: ck)