DALLAS – British Airways (BA) has canceled hundreds of flights on major routes for the summer season, compounding the airline’s troubles as it looks to Spain for new staff recruits.
Thousands of passengers are expected to be impacted by the airline’s decision to severely curtail timetables from May to August, with journeys to and from some of the most popular vacation destinations being cut in half. During the busiest season, several flights to the US and the Far East will be canceled, according to thenationalnews.com. BA anticipates resuming the canceled flights in September.
Flights to popular destinations like Miami, Hong Kong, and Tokyo have been canceled. Trips from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to the Florida hub (MIA) will be decreased from two to one per day beginning June 4 and continuing until at least September 7. American Airlines (AA) has agreed to take up the daily flights from LHR to Miami that have been canceled by the British carrier.
In addition, Finnair (AY) will operate some of BA’s summer services. The Finnish airline, BA’s transatlantic joint venture partner, will operate short-haul services. AY will lease four Airbus 321 aircraft and crew to BA along with aircraft maintenance for flights from London to Europe.
Finally, the crown airline is encountering problems at Gatwick Airport (LGW) with its new low-cost Euroflyer subsidiary, which offers crews less appealing pay and conditions than previously. BA resumed short-haul service on March 29, but, according to ttgmedia.com, some LGW services are now provided by Iberia Express (IB), another IAG brand.
Summer Rush Crews Needed
The flight adjustments were unveiled yesterday during a conference in Manila and followed a period of disruption for BA passengers with over 1,000 flights canceled in the previous three weeks.
On Wednesday alone, about 112 flights to European and Mediterranean destinations were cut from BA’s schedule, following the cancellation of 96 flights the day before.
The cancelations are due in part to staffing shortages. The issue had led BA to consider building a temporary staff base in Madrid to handle the summer rush, as well as leasing Finnair and Iberia aircraft.
Because of pandemic job cuts and Brexit, the airline does not have enough crews for the summer rush, and acquiring security clearance for new employees is also affecting recruitment.
As a result, BA wants to set up a temporary crew base in Spain from June to October to circumvent restrictions prohibiting the employment of non-UK workers following Brexit. Crews will fly from Madrid to LHR, then work on European routes from the UK before returning to Madrid after five or six days.
Crew positions will be temporary and recruited via the employment agency, Randstad.
Featured image: British Airways G-XWBD Airbus A350-1000. Photo: Ervin Eslami/Airways