Thousands of flights canceled across Europe amid severe staff shortages

Airlines and airports across Europe and South America have struggled to cope with the rebound in travel after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

 El Al Israel Airlines counters are seen at Ben Gurion International airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel February 27, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
El Al Israel Airlines counters are seen at Ben Gurion International airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel February 27, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

Due to protests, strikes and staff shortages, the world's leading airlines from Lufthansa to American Airlines were all forced to cancel thousands of flights planned for this winter.

Airlines and airports, including Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport, have struggled to cope with the rebound in post-COVID-19 lockdown travel, with many failing to recruit enough staff to handle check-ins and baggage.

Here are all the announced cancelations from across Europe and South America, as reported by Euronews.

Lufhantsa

Pilots at Lufthansa went on strike on Friday, forcing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights from now to March 26, 2023.

The German airline said it had suspended about 800 flights at its main bases in Frankfurt and Munich on Friday, affecting 130,000 passengers.

The G-EUPH British Airways Airbus A319-131 makes its final approach for landing at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, France (credit: REUTERS)The G-EUPH British Airways Airbus A319-131 makes its final approach for landing at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, France (credit: REUTERS)

British Airways

The UK flag carrier announced it was canceling thousands of flights scheduled for before October 29 due to the extension of a 100,000 daily passenger limit set until that date at London's Heathrow Airport.

In addition, a further 10,000 flights were dropped from the British airline's schedule between October 29 and March 2022 – about 80% of all of the airline's scheduled flights.

Scandinavian Airlines

SAS suspended some 1,700 flights in the coming months partly due to a two-week pilot strike in July over collective agreements and delayed aircraft deliveries.

The flights, roughly 4% of the airline's total number, were canceled in September and October. "It is the effects from the strike but also delayed deliveries of aircraft and some other factors," a SAS spokesperson said, adding that the company does not see lower demand.

WizzAir

The low-cost Hungarian airline suspended almost all outgoing flights from the Welsh city of Cardiff in the next six months, noting "financial pressure" in a statement announcing the measures.

American Airlines

More than 29,000 American Airline flights will be suspended in November, according to reports, with the frequency of flights to the airline's more common destinations set to decrease.

Ryanair

Only one airline, Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, has managed to add more flights to its schedule. Hundreds of new flights were added to its winter schedule.

It has been taking advantage of cancellations by rivals, particularly in the UK, by adding extra flights.

Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers now expects to fly 166.5 million passengers in the year to the end of March, up from a previous target of 165 million, after it added more than one million seats to and from 20 UK airports.

Reuters contributed to this report.