The disruption to air traffic is expected to continue into the next month, with passengers being warned that cancellations and schedule changes will affect autumn and winter flights.
Rish passengers have been contacted in recent weeks about flight cancellations for the next month, while some airlines have had to adjust their schedules to cope with new restrictions in the industry.
Those working in the industry say global disruptions mean they don’t expect schedules to return to pre-pandemic levels at least before winter.
Much of the disruption is related to airlines and airports struggling to regain full capacity in the wake of the pandemic. Due to staff shortages, the number of employees has not yet returned to the normal level.
Meanwhile, outbreaks of Covid-19, hiring and training of new staff and huge demand for travel since the easing of pandemic restrictions have all contributed to airport delays, flight cancellations and check-in and baggage handling problems.
Dutch carrier KLM has been in touch with Irish passengers in recent weeks to warn them of flight cancellations next month, with travelers having switched to alternative flights and being notified to adjust their plans if necessary.
Services affected include return Dublin-Amsterdam and Cork-Amsterdam flights.
Some Irish passengers affected by the changes have been contacted ahead of the announcement last Tuesday that a daily passenger limit at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol will be extended through September and October.
This resulted in a small number of canceled flights, with minor time changes elsewhere on Dublin and Cork services to cope with the restrictions.
The restrictions at Schiphol were first introduced last month amid fears it would be difficult to cope with passenger numbers during busier periods.
The airport is typically one of the busiest in Europe and is used by passengers connecting to long-haul flights.
Whilst Irish airports do not have such restrictions, there are knock-on effects for services here due to the changes in Amsterdam.
KLM said it is not yet fully aware of how its services to and from Ireland will be impacted in the coming months.
“KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is doing its utmost to maintain stable operations, but we have experienced some cancellations and have limited the number of available seats due to the disruption at Schiphol Airport,” said a spokeswoman.
“At this point in time, the exact impact for September and October is not yet fully known. Nonetheless, KLM will aim to maintain solid operations throughout the year to ensure our customers can travel from Dublin and Cork via Schiphol to our global network.”
Similar caps on passenger numbers were introduced at London Heathrow last month and will remain in place until September 11th.
Aer Lingus said it plans to operate a full flight schedule but “airports like London Heathrow continue to demand some cancellations”.
“Where such cancellations are mandated, we will endeavor to advise and reaccommodate affected customers as efficiently as possible,” said an Aer Lingus spokeswoman.
“Due to the large number of flights Aer Lingus operates to and from London Heathrow, most customers are typically rebooked on the same day.”
Heathrow limits meant British Airways last week temporarily suspended ticket sales for short-haul operations there until tomorrow.
The airline said it was taking “preventive measures” to reduce its flight schedule this summer and “give customers peace of mind about their travel plans.”
“When Heathrow introduced its passenger cap, we removed a small number of additional flights from our schedule. To remain within the cap, we have taken responsible action by capping the sale of all available fares on some of our Heathrow routes to ensure more seats are available for rebooking customers,” said a British Airways spokesman.
“We will continue to manage bookings to stay within the cap imposed by Heathrow to allow us to get our customers away as planned this summer.”
Many operators and airports have struggled to ramp up to full capacity after travel slowed to a trickle in 2020.
Industry figures say many operators won’t return to 2019 levels until this winter or next year.
Meanwhile, Ryanair, which does not fly from Heathrow, said it is continuing to operate at full capacity.
“Ryanair is fully staffed and operating a busy schedule of 3,000 daily flights (nearly 100,000 per month),” a spokeswoman said.
“Ryanair has not had any cancellations to/from Dublin or Cork this summer due to staff shortages, unlike many other airlines who have not adequately planned the return of post-Covid travel.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/passengers-warned-as-air-travel-disruption-to-continue-41894739.html Passengers warned to continue air traffic