EasyJet cuts 40 daily flights from UK airports until end of June

Airline hopes that reduction in services will help passengers to avoid delays

EasyJet has cut 40 daily flights to and from UK airports until the end of June. PA
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EasyJet has cancelled 40 flights a day to and from UK airports for the rest of June in an effort to avert travel problems.

Staff shortages caused upheaval for thousands of passengers over the school half-term holiday, which coincided with the royal platinum jubilee long weekend when many travellers became stranded overseas.

On Friday, easyJet chief operating officer Peter Bellew said cancellations for the “coming days and weeks” were intended to “increase resilience across the network”.

The budget carrier flies about 1,700 daily flights to and from 16 British airports, including Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester.

“Due to the ongoing impact of the challenging operating environment on our daily operations, we have made a small proportion of additional advance flight cancellations for June,” an easyJet representative said.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will cause.”

“We are informing customers in advance to minimise the impact on their plans and provide the option to rebook before travelling or receive a refund, and our customer service hours have been extended to support customers.

“We continue to monitor the operation closely and take action in advance as needed.”

Passengers queue for security at Gatwick Airport. Photo: Diego Garcia Rodriguez / PA

Like its competitors, easyJet has struggled to cope with a spike in demand for travel after the UK lifted the remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions in March.

The industry has suffered flight cancellations, and long queues at airports. Shortages of airport and airline staff were blamed for the disarray.

Leading figures in the sector, including Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye, urged government ministers to help the industry by easing rules around security clearances for new recruits.

He said the problems the industry faces could last up to 18 months.

Flight delays across Europe rose to almost 100,000 minutes in the week to June 4 — the period covering the UK school half-term holiday — according to data from Eurocontrol, which manages European airspace.

Almost half were caused by capacity and staffing issues across the continent, it said.

The latest figures from Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, showed about 5.3 million travellers passed through its doors in May, its busiest month since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic began.

The figure was 79 per cent of the passenger number recorded in May 2019, before the pandemic.

Despite many passengers reporting delays at Heathrow in recent weeks, the airport said 90 per cent of people cleared security in less than 10 minutes.

In anticipation of the upwards trend continuing, Heathrow will open Terminal 4 on Tuesday to ease pressure on its other three terminals.

Updated: June 13, 2022, 9:10 AM