Hundreds of flights were canceled by British Airways and EasyJet due to manpower shortages, as a result of a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 virus infections among both airlines’ employees.
British Airways canceled over 100 flights to and from Heathrow Airport (LHR) on April 4, 2022, citing higher-than-usual levels of employee absence due to illness.
Meanwhile, between April 1 and April 4, 2022, easyJet canceled 222 flights. The British low-cost carrier tried to compensate for staff shortages by rostering more standby crew members, but this was insufficient to secure the required manpower.
“As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness,” an EasyJet spokesperson was quoted by The Guardian as saying.
Travel mayhem plagued three of the UK’s main airports as a result of massive flight cancellations, with travelers at Heathrow (LHR), Manchester (MAN), and Edinburgh (EDI) trapped in long lines waiting to check in.
Local airports, like airlines, have experienced staffing shortages at a time when demand for summer season air travel was increasing as travel restrictions were lifted.
“Our whole industry is facing staff shortages and recruitment challenges at present, after the most damaging two years in its history,” a spokesperson of Manchester Airport told BBC. “The removal of all travel restrictions after two years, coupled with the start of the summer travel season, has seen a rapid increase in passenger numbers, which is putting an enormous strain on our operation.”