Europe’s Travel Recovery Has Been Obstructed by Airlines’ Failure to Prepare

By | July 13, 2022

Although the international travel scene in Europe initially appeared to be good at the start of 2022, the current state of air travel turmoil seen at many airports in Europe is likely to hamper the sector’s recovery, according to the leading data and analytics company GlobalData.

A (seemingly) unexpected tidal wave of consumer demand will continue to grow in 2022, with far too many unprepared airports and airlines around the world.

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The lack of staff and other logistical challenges has led to an almost continuous successive flight delays, such as multiple delays and cancellations, and ridiculously long lines and waiting times at airports. in the whole world.

But, Europe seems to be particularly bad. A few days ago, the Washington Post reported that the number of delays and cancellations in Europe was more than three times that of the US, some days as high as five times the amount.

“International departures from European countries are expected to reach 69% of 2019 figures by 2022, according to GlobalData forecasts,” said Hannah Free, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData. “While destinations are eager to receive visitors, supply will not be able to meet demand following severe staff shortages and industry disputes, which have coincided with a resurgence in international travel.”

In an attempt to prevent problems from accumulating during the busy summer travel season, many airlines have strategically reduced their planned flight schedules to take advantage of their limited workforce.


The entrance to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
The entrance to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. (photo courtesy of VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

“Airports like London Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol have been forced to ask airlines to reduce flights, while many carriers have to pre-emptively cull their schedules by the thousands, affecting millions of holidaymakers. , “said Free. “EasyJet has reportedly cut more than 11,000 flights from its summer schedule. Meanwhile, British Airways has now canceled 13% of its summer schedule, following a statement on July 6, 2022, that the company will eliminate another 10,300 short-haul flights by the end of October 2022.

Both of the airlines he mentioned cited their ongoing staff shortages as the reason for reducing their schedules. But, looking at British Airways hiring trends, GlobalData noted that the carrier failed to hire a sufficient number of employees to handle the summer resurgence in travel demand. In November 2021, British Airways announced its intention to increase its workforce by 15 per cent, equivalent to approximately 4,000 new additions, including pilots, cabin crew, ground staff and back-office workers.

Given, however, that the airline has reportedly cut approximately 10,000 jobs due to COVID-19, those efforts have been very short-lived. And, according to hiring trends data from GlobalData’s Job Analytics Database, British Airways didn’t increase the number of active job postings on its career pages until March 2022 at least. Too small, too late.


Graph of active British Airways job postings from July 2021 to July 2022.
Graph of active British Airways job postings from July 2021 to July 2022. (photo via GlobalData)

Free added, “Although this example looks specifically at British Airways, it should be emphasized that it is an industry-wide issue with massive staff shortages, following cuts during the pandemic, causing key issue for some airlines.The interconnected nature of the tourism ecosystem — which sees hotels, airlines, car rental firms, tour operators, cruise lines and others relying on each other while traveling — means that disruption issues at any point along this chain have the potential to negatively affect others. Unfortunately, prolonged financial difficulties for a number of industry players are the result of canceled flights. “

Aside from the lack of staff, many other factors have played a part in creating the current madness at European airports, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the resulting sanctions imposed against Russia, which led almost immediately to the issues. in the global supply chain. This, in turn, has contributed to record levels of economic inflation, which have caused a dramatic rise in the cost of living — all of which, taken together, would certainly hinder the recovery of international travel.


For the latest insight into travel around the world, check it out interactive guide.

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