Easyjet cancels 1,700 flights from July to Septemberon July 10, 2023 at 11:56 am

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The airline axes flights to and from Gatwick airport as schools head towards the summer break.

Easyjet planeImage source, Getty Images

Easyjet has confirmed it has cancelled 1,700 flights as people prepare to travel on their summer holidays.

The airline has axed flights during July, August and September, travelling to and from Gatwick airport.

Easyjet blamed constrained airspace over Europe and ongoing air traffic control difficulties, which are causing regular cancellations.

The company said 95% of affected passengers had been rebooked onto alternative flights.

Easyjet announced the decision as many schools in England and Wales prepare to break-up for the summer holidays.

July is scheduled to record the highest number of UK flight departures since October 2019 before the Covid pandemic, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.

It said the number of flights departing the UK would be 11% higher than July last year.

EasyJet said its cancellations roughly represent the equivalent of one day’s worth of flights. It will still operate about 90,000 journeys over the period.

A spokesperson for EasyJet said the whole airline industry was seeing “challenging conditions this summer” as the closure of Ukrainian airspace due to Russia’s war caused congestion in the skies and disrupted flights.

They also said planned strikes by air traffic controllers in Europe could have an impact.

“We have therefore made some pre-emptive adjustments to our programme consolidating a small number of flights at Gatwick, where we have multiple daily frequencies, in order to help mitigate these external challenges on the day of travel for our customers,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers whose flights are affected are being informed, with 95% of customers being rebooked onto an alternative flight and all customers provided with the option to rebook or receive a refund.”

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What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?

Passengers have a number of rights under UK law if they are:

  • flying from a UK airport
  • arriving at a UK airport on an EU or UK airline
  • arriving at an EU airport on a UK airline

Airlines must offer the choice of a refund or alternative flight, regardless of how far in advance the cancellation was made.

Return tickets must be fully refunded if either leg is cancelled.

And passengers have a right to be booked on another airline – or other suitable mode of transport – if it is going to their destination significantly sooner.

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Last year, a huge increase in demand following the easing of Covid travel restrictions coincided with major staff shortages at airlines and airports, leading to long queues and cancelled flights.

Across 2022 as a whole more than a third of UK flights were delayed.

Airlines and airports claimed to be in a much better position this year but admit the situation in Ukraine and air traffic problems could create difficulties.

Walkouts by French air traffic controllers have caused disruption in the first six months of 2023, leading Ryanair to cancel 650 flights in April alone.

Meanwhile, Eurocontrol, which manages flights over Europe, said one of its unions could take industrial action this summer, although no dates have been announced yet.

Negotiations are continuing with unions and experts say the potential impact of any strikes is unclear.

Airlines UK, which represents the industry, said that airlines have “made huge efforts since the pandemic to build resilience into operations”.

It added that its members were “looking forward to a busy summer, meeting growing demand for travel and carrying millions of people on holidays”.

Travellers’ taste in destinations also appears to have altered since Covid.

Cirium said demand in July for flights to Turkey, Greece and Croatia has outstripped pre-pandemic levels.

But departures to key destinations such as Spain, France and Italy have fallen short.

It said flights to Italy and France comparing July 2019 to the same month this year both fell by 13%.

Departures to Spain are down 6% compared to pre-Covid July.

However, it remains the most popular destination with 14,962 flights between the UK and Spain booked for this month.

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