EasyJet has been forced to cancel 1,700 flights during the peak summer holiday season.
The low-cost airline indicated, like many rivals, it had been forced to act in response to the impact of air traffic control (ATC) strikes in Europe and knock-on effects of the closure of airspace due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
It denied any suggestion that it was suffering a repeat of last year’s troubles that were linked to staff shortages in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
EasyJet said it would mostly consolidate some services to and from Gatwick Airport, its busiest operation, between July and September in a bid to eradicate the threat of disruption to its customers’ holiday plans.
It said that Gatwick flights had been most exposed to strikes in France.
Ryanair, which has blamed the air traffic controllers’ action for disruption to 1.1 million passengers, has previously called for the European Commission to intervene to protect services.
The cancelled easyJet flights represent 2% of its summer flight schedule, affecting up to 180,000 customers.
It is understood 95% of affected passengers have already been re-booked on an alternative flight.
An easyJet spokesperson said: “We are currently operating up to around 1,800 flights and carrying around 250,000 customers per day, with more crew and pilots flying than ever before and like all airlines, we review our flights on an ongoing basis.
As Eurocontrol has stated, the whole industry is seeing challenging conditions this summer with more constrained air space due to the war in Ukraine resulting in unprecedented ATC delays, as well as further potential ATC strike action.
“We have therefore made some pre-emptive adjustments to our programme consolidating a small number of flights at Gatwick, where we have multiple daily frequencies, in order to help mitigate these external challenges on the day of travel for our customers and we continue to operate around over 90,000 flights over this period.
“Customers whose flights are affected are being informed, with 95% of customers being rebooked onto an alternative flight and all customers provided with the option to rebook or receive a refund.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”
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