Lufthansa and Eurowings have cancelled more than 1,000 flights in July as airport staffing issues take a toll on air travel in Europe this summer.
Lufthansa has cut 900 domestic Germany and European flights in July, and its discount affiliate Eurowings “several hundred flights” in order to stabilize their operations, Eurowings said Wednesday. Lufthansa’s cuts are concentrated on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and represent 5 percent of weekend system capacity.
“The upcoming summer will undoubtedly be a major operational challenge for the whole industry,” Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr warned in May. “We are maximally flexible can adapt to changes immediately, and we have improved our operational processes even further wherever feasible. But we’re also fully aware that many partners, such as airports, air traffic control, caterers, are currently struggling with significant staff shortages.”
Amsterdam and London have born the brunt of Europe’s airport and air traffic control staffing issues in recent weeks. KLM was forced to fly empty planes to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on June 4 after issues at the airport led to overcrowded facilities and cancelled flights. British Airways has cut its schedule at London Heathrow by 10 percent through October in response to what it says is understaffing by the airport operator. And EasyJet cancelled hundreds of flights over the weekend of June 4 due to its own operational woes.
Lufthansa and Eurowings will notify passengers immediately and rebook them if possible, the airlines said. They also recommended that German travelers use the country’s rail system to travel to either the Frankfurt or Munich airports if their domestic flight is cancelled.