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Picture: BLOOMBERG
Picture: BLOOMBERG

British Airways (BA)  is scrapping another 10,300 flights through the summer season as it grapples with a staffing crisis that’s unleashed chaotic scenes across Europe’s aviation sector.

With the latest round of cancellations, which follow others earlier this week, the unit of IAG will have pared about 13% of its schedule from April through to end-October, it said Wednesday. Only short-haul routes are affected.

BA has been among the carriers hardest hit by a staffing crunch that’s being felt across the region, after dismissing 10,000 workers at the peak of the Covid pandemic. The latest move comes after the UK government waived rules that require airlines to use airport operating slots or lose them the next season.

“While taking further action is not where we wanted to be, it’s the right thing to do,” the airline said in an email. “This new flexibility means that we can further reduce our schedule and consolidate some of our quieter services so that we can protect as many of our holiday flights as possible.”

Passengers will be able to rebook with BA or another airline or get a full refund, it said. BA had already extended summer timetable cuts to 11% on Tuesday. With the latest announcement, it has eliminated almost 30,000 flights.

Earlier on Wednesday the carrier said it was hiring Dutch rival KLM executive René de Groot with a focus on improving operational resilience and lifting headcount to ease the shortfall.

De Groot resigned from KLM on Wednesday after 32 years at the company.

Walkout looms

BA is also grappling with strike threats. In June, some check-in workers at its main London Heathrow hub said they would walk out during the peak vacation period over a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic, with dates likely to be set shortly.

Rival carriers are suffering similar turmoil, with KLM slashing flights amid passenger caps at Amsterdam Schiphol airport and EasyJet affected by curbs at both the Dutch hub and its main London Gatwick base.

Deutsche Lufthansa last month scrapped a total of 3,100 flights for July and August and faced anger from employees ahead of a supervisory board meeting late on Wednesday called to discuss flight disruption.

IAG shares closed 2.8% higher before the flight-cuts announcement.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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