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Lufthansa scraps 2,200 flights as Europe travel chaos mounts

Germany’s flagship airline scrapped both domestic and European routes for July and August, a spokesman said. That follows 900 cancellations announced earlier this month.

June 24, 2022 / 02:37 PM IST

Deutsche Lufthansa AG canceled 2,200 flights after a wave of coronavirus infections worsened staffing shortages, adding to Europe’s travel chaos as the crucial summer vacation period gets under way.

Germany’s flagship airline scrapped both domestic and European routes for July and August, a spokesman said. That follows 900 cancellations announced earlier this month.

Travel demand has rebounded dramatically in Europe with the lifting of coronavirus curbs, leaving some airlines struggling to cope and subjecting passengers to hours-long queues and cancellations. A new outbreak of Covid-19 infections -- while less deadly than previous waves -- is causing growing absences from workplaces, worsening acute labor shortages.

Growing labor unrest as workers seek pay increases to keep up with inflation is adding to the problem, with strikes threatened or under way at airlines including Ryanair Holdings Plc and IAG SA’s British Airways.

The developments are a fresh blow to the European aviation industry that was among the worst-affected during the pandemic, with airlines and airports losing billions of euros after the virus burst a decades-long travel boom. Carriers had cut back staffing during the health crisis and were slow to rebuild, worried about the resiliency of ticket sales.

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Lufthansa, looking to a busy summer to boost sales and reduce debt, had planned to deploy 2022 capacity equal to 75% of the 2019 level. While Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr last month said he was “mentally ticking off the crisis” as the Covid threat recedes, the recent surge is again shaking his summer plan. Airports and ground handlers are also struggling to attract staff, further crimping capacity.
Bloomberg
first published: Jun 24, 2022 02:37 pm
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