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Summer travel: Which airlines have cancelled flights? All you need to know

·5 min read
Holidaymakers face further summer travel chaos as more airlines cancel flights. Photo: aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty
Holidaymakers face further summer travel chaos as more airlines cancel flights. Photo: Aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty

This summer's travel chaos is spreading even further across Britain and Europe as a number of airlines prepare another wave of flight cancellations due to staff shortages.

As travel rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic lows, strikes and worker shortages are forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights.

Lufthansa (LHA.DE), Europe’s biggest airline, is the latest carrier to axe trips as the summer holiday period kicks off, according to Reuters.

The German airline, which already cancelled around 3,100 flights last month, is preparing to slash about one fifth of departures from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs on select days next week.

On Friday, Scandinavian airline SAS (SAS.ST) grounded nearly 70% of its flights as a pilot strike stranded thousands of tourists overseas.

Read more: Travel insurance: The 10 mistakes stopping you from getting a payout

Earlier this week, British Airways (BA), owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.L), announced it was ditching thousands of flights amid a staffing crunch.

As the aviation sector suffers unprecedented bottlenecks and long queues at airports from Heathrow airport to major European hubs like Dusseldorf, here's what you need to know about the cancellations.

Watch: BA cancels 11% of flights during summer holiday peak to avoid airport disruption

Which airlines are cancelling flights?

Lufthansa is planning to cut domestic and European flights from Frankfurt airport between Friday 8 July and Thursday 14 July to provide a stable flight plan.

The carrier last week said it will only offer seats in its most expensive booking class for the month of July, raising the price of the cheapest return trip between London and Frankfurt to €1,000 ($1,011, £847).

Reuters, citing data from flight tracker FlightAware, reported SAS will slash some 181 flights, or 69% of those scheduled.

SAS, whose biggest owners are the Swedish and the Danish governments, has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights this week when talks with pilots over a new collective bargaining agreement collapsed.

Read more: British Airways cancels thousands more flights until October

On Tuesday, it was revealed that BA will scrap flights for up to 105,000 holidaymakers this month on popular routes.

According to reports the airline told airport slot authorities it is grounding more than 650 flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Over 76,000 seats are being axed from Heathrow and 29,400 from Gatwick on flights to more than 70 tourist hotspots including Malaga, Ibiza, Faro, Palma and Athens.

Britain's biggest airline said another 10,300 short-haul flights will be axed until the end of October, taking the percentage of cancellations across the airline to a total of 13% this summer.

Will more UK flights be axed this summer?

UK holidaymakers face more travel chaos as airlines have been given the green light to ground flights this summer without incurring in any fines.

Last weekend, airlines were given permission to cancel flights this summer without incurring in any fines as the government introduced an "airline slot amnesty".

Under the plan, carriers will be able to ground flights without being penalised for not using their airport slot.

This means that if a flight is planned later this summer and airlines feel they will not be able to staff it, they can cancel it without incurring fines or penalties.

Airlines are required to finalise their summer schedule by Friday 8 July.

Eurostar runs up to 39 daily services, mostly between London and Paris as well as trains to Amsterdam via Brussels and Rotterdam. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA
Eurostar runs up to 39 daily services, mostly between London and Paris as well as trains to Amsterdam via Brussels and Rotterdam. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

Airline alternatives: Trains and car hire

With all the flight delays, cancellations and long waiting lines at airports there are other viable alternatives to travelling this summer.

Holidaymakers can also use Eurostar services to travel by train as Europe has one of the most extensive and efficient rail networks in the world. It runs up to 39 daily services, mostly between London and Paris.

Eurostar recently said it will run more direct trains between London and the Netherlands as demand grows.

A fourth daily weekday service will operate in both directions between London St Pancras International and Amsterdam via Brussels and Rotterdam from 5 September.

The extra service from the capital will depart at 6.16am, with journey times of around three hours and 15 minutes for Rotterdam and just under four hours for Amsterdam.

Personal car buyer service provider, ChooseMyCar, has calculated the cost and time difference between flying and driving.

Read more: British Airways flight cancellations: What you need to know

Using Stratford upon Avon as a starting point in the UK, it found that some European destinations were cheaper to get to via car, especially when factoring in the costs of hiring cars if you opt to fly instead.

For example, flying to the Spanish resort town of Salou as a family of four would incur costs of over £2,000, and would take approximately 14 hours from start to finish.

The same journey using a car would cost £1,100, taking three hours longer, according to the research.

"It’s not surprising that many people have decided not to bother going away because of all the airport chaos and risk of cancellations," said Nick Zapolski, founder of ChooseMyCar. "But driving can actually be a great way of seeing Europe, as well as having no risk of cancellations."

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