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EasyJet cancels thousands of flights this summer due to congestion in Europe’s skies

EasyJet has cancelled around 1,700 flights this summer.
EasyJet has cancelled around 1,700 flights this summer. Copyright AP Photo/Armando Franca
Copyright AP Photo/Armando Franca
By Euronews Travel
Published on
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The airline denied that it was a return to the chaos seen last summer due to staff shortages.

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Thousands of holidaymakers could face disruption this summer after easyJet axed around 1,700 flights from July to September.

Most of the affected flights are to or from London Gatwick Airport where, in recent days, there have been a number of short-notice cancellations. Dozens of flights to popular destinations like Barcelona and Malaga were cut on Sunday.

EasyJet added that the cancellations are also services with multiple departures a day and make up less than 2 per cent of its schedule for July and August.

The airline described the decision as a “pre-emptive adjustment” to “consolidate” its summer schedule at the airport. It denied that it was suffering a repeat of the chaos seen last year caused by staff shortages after the COVID-19 pandemic.

EasyJet said that the whole industry is “facing challenges this summer”. The war in Ukraine has caused crowded airspace in Europe and air traffic control strikes are adding to the problem.

What can passengers do if their flight is cancelled?

European rules mean easyJet passengers whose flights are cancelled are still entitled to travel on their original day of departure. This includes rebooking on another carrier that has seats available at the airline’s expense.

If you are told less than a week before departure, you must be rebooked on a flight that departs no earlier than an hour ahead of the original time and arrives less than two hours after your original arrival.

For cancellations one to two weeks in advance, your alternative flight can’t take off more than one hour before the original departure time or arrive less than four hours after your scheduled landing.

Alberto Pezzali/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved
Most of the cancelled flights are to or from London's Gatwick airport.Alberto Pezzali/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved

If your flight is cancelled with less than two weeks' notice, you could also be entitled to compensation of €250 per person for flights of 1,500km or less or €400 for flights between 1,500 and 3,500km.

EasyJet claims that 95 per cent of passengers affected by the cancellations have already been rebooked onto an alternative flight.

All customers, the airline says, were offered the option to rebook or receive a refund.

Why could this summer be challenging for airlines?

Last week European air traffic control organisation Eurocontrol warned that this summer will likely be “challenging” for the aviation industry.

It expects an average of 33,000 flights a day across the continent over the next eight weeks with that number rising to 34,000 on Fridays - one of the most popular days to fly. But the war in Ukraine is causing airspace over Europe to become constrained and there are worries that our skies could become overloaded.

Strikes and unpredictable disruption from weather events have also added to the challenges. It means passengers could be facing another summer of delays, disruption and cancellations.

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