A wave of airlines have gone on strike in Europe and the UK disrupting people’s travel plans just as Thailand fully reopens without restrictions.
Thousands of flights with airlines have been canceled due to staffing shortages at Ryanair, EasyJet Plc, British Airways, and Aeroports de Paris (ADP). In the United Kingdom, rail strikes have exacerbated the transport chaos.
In spite of Europeans’ rebounding demand for travel, labor tensions and airport logistics limits are impeding the aviation industry’s long-awaited post-pandemic revival.
There have been chaotic scenes at airports in Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, and Paris, with lines of people waiting for hours only to find out that their flights have been canceled.
Further mayhem looms as unscrupulous unions seek to capitalize on carriers’ desperate attempts to cash in on the summer bookings surge. Above all to end losses and repair balance sheets after the pandemic plunged airlines into almost bankruptcy.
Unions are pressing demands for pay increases to keep up with inflation, better working conditions, and benefits.
Workers of Airlines demanding more pay
On Friday, Ryanair cabin crew members in Spain, Portugal, and Belgium began a three-day strike, which will be joined by colleagues in France on Saturday and Italy on Sunday.
According to Ryanair, fewer than 2% of its flights were disrupted by Friday’s strikes, although about 40% of its Belgian services were affected.
In Spain, EasyJet workers will walk out for nine days in staggered shifts starting on July 1, while its Spanish workers are set to take more strike action next Friday.
British Airways employees at London Heathrow airport will also take part in industrial action soon. As part of its effort to avert a second strike on July 1, ADP has been in talks with unions at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports.
A quarter of all flights at CDG were canceled and two runways were closed as a result of the one on June 9.
An ongoing rail strike in the UK has exacerbated the transport crisis, making access to and from airports more difficult.
Rail Strike and flight cancellations
The dispute was also triggered by wage claims, though unlike in the aviation sector, workers are seeking guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies in an industry that appears to have been fundamentally affected by the Covid upheaval.
According to the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, Britain faces a “long-running summer of discontent” across the rail network.
In the meantime, Deutsche Lufthansa AG announced on Friday that 3,100 flights will be canceled in July and August. Flight caps have been announced at London Gatwick and Amsterdam Schiphol, two of the region’s biggest hubs.
In Belgium, Brussels Airlines said about 315 flights will be canceled with pilots and cabin staff on strike. Travelers are bearing the brunt of the chaos. For many, dream vacations are starting off badly or long-planned professional trips are having to be rerouted.
At Madrid’s Barajas Airport on Friday, Loreto, who didn’t want to give her surname, waited in line for her KLM flight to Thailand, where she was traveling with two friends.
As she zipped her suitcase tightly, she said, “There is no information. I thought they’d send us a list of canceled flights, but we haven’t seen it anywhere.”
Fuel prices drive up ticket prices
Meanwhile, in the US, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Airlines have all reported pilot and cabin crew shortages, causing canceled flights and delays throughout the United States.
Airline tickets have also seen a 40 percent increase as fuel prices surge in the US due to President Biden’s failed energy policies.
American Airlines plans to drop service to four U.S. cities, while United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have each scaled back service between some smaller cities and their hubs, citing a lack of pilots and cabin crew.
During the pandemic, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Airlines shed aviators only to be caught flat-footed when travel demand spiked, they have raised pilot wages to entice pilots to return after mass layoffs.