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British Airways cuts 10,300 more flights through October

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British Airways has cancelled 13 percent of its total 2022 summer schedule./AFP
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Jul 07, 2022 - 01:45 AM

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — British Airways on Wednesday axed another 10,300 short-haul flights up to the end of October, with the aviation sector battling staff shortages and booming demand as the pandemic recedes.

The carrier, which is owned by conglomerate International Airlines Group (IAG), added in a statement that it had now cancelled 13 percent of its total summer schedule.

BA has been among the worst affected by sector-wide turmoil, as carriers race to meet soaring demand after the lifting of Covid travel restrictions.

“The whole aviation industry continues to face into significant challenges and we’re completely focussed on building resilience into our operation to give customers the certainty they deserve,” the airline said in a statement, having already announced hundreds of flight cancellations this summer.

The latest move meanwhile comes less than two weeks after BA staff at London Heathrow airport voted to strike over pay this summer as surging inflation erodes wages and sparks growing UK industrial unrest.

The carrier’s Heathrow ground staff voted by more than 90 percent in favour of walkouts.

Wednesday’s news also comes after the British government recently offered “slot alleviation measures” which allow carriers to temporarily reduce schedules while retaining valuable take-off and landing slots.

“While taking further action is not where we wanted to be, it’s the right thing to do for our customers and our colleagues,” BA added on Wednesday.

“This new flexibility means that we can further reduce our schedule and consolidate some of our quieter services so that we can protect as many of our holiday flights as possible.”

The group sought to reassure customers but conceded it would have a considerable impact on travel plans.

“While most of our flights are unaffected and the majority of customers will get away as planned, we don’t underestimate the impact this will have and we’re doing everything we can to get their travel plans back on track,” BA added.

“We’re in touch to apologise and offer rebooking options for new flights with us or another airline as soon as possible or issue a full refund.”

In a vote of confidence in the aviation sector’s long-term recovery, IAG last week ordered 11 Airbus A320neo aircraft and three A321neos worth $1.7 billion.

The London-listed conglomerate recently forecast a return to annual profit after narrowing Covid-induced losses as travel curbs were eased.

The group collapsed into annual losses in 2020 and 2021 as Covid ravaged global demand for international air travel, forcing BA and its peers to slash thousands of jobs.

IAG owns various airlines that also include Ireland’s Aer Lingus and Spain’s Iberia.

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