British Airways is to cancel more than 1,000 additional flights this summer from Heathrow and Gatwick as staff shortages continue to affect its operations.
More than 100,000 travellers planning to visit popular holiday destinations including Málaga, Palma and Faro will be affected, although BA will primarily cut back routes with multiple daily departures.
The carrier, which in spring axed about 10% of its planned flights until October, has decided to further prune its schedule after the government offered a “slot amnesty” last month.
The move allowed airlines to temporarily reduce their operations without forfeiting the right to valuable landing slots at busy airports, normally awarded under a “use it or lose it” rule.
A British Airways spokesperson said: “We took pre-emptive action earlier this year to reduce our summer schedule to provide customers with as much notice as possible about any changes to their travel plans.
“As the entire aviation industry continues to face into the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions. We’re in touch with customers to apologise and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund.”
The airline did not dispute figures reported in the Telegraph, of 650 further cancellations in July, and it is understood that a similar number of flights are being removed from August schedules.
BA decided to cut back as recruitment remains a challenge, while the threat remains of strikes at its main Heathrow base by ground staff, who are holding out to have 10% pay cuts imposed during the pandemic overturned.
The airline made thousands of staff redundant and rehired the rest on inferior terms and conditions when coronavirus grounded all flights, leaving it dealing with losses of up to £20m each day.
Airlines and airports have been racing to rehire staff but the rebound in demand has left them struggling, with long queues and chaotic cancellations already widespread in 2022, before the start of the peak holiday season.
BA’s biggest competitor in the UK, easyJet, has parted ways with its chief operations officer Peter Bellew, as the airline attempts to recover from months of delays and cancellations.