British airline EasyJet’s staffing woes continue to pile up, with the company cancelling hundreds of flights over the last week, leaving thousands of people stranded abroad and many schoolchildren unable to return after the mid-terms, forcing them to miss exams.
The BBC reports that EasyJet had cancelled about 80 flights on Sunday “due to the ongoing challenging operating environment”.
Malta has also been affected. Two EasyJet flights arriving from London Gatwick at 10.40am today and departing from Malta at 11.30am have been cancelled, although another one arriving in Malta from the same airport at 6pm and leaving at 6.45pm still seems to be happening, as per Malta International Airport’s list of arrivals and departures for the day.
Earlier this month, EasyJet took an unconventional approach to solving the issue by ripping up the last row of seats from some of its planes, after a similarly chaotic Easter period also saw hundreds of flights being cancelled.
According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) guidelines, flights with a maximum of 150 seats can fly with three cabin crew instead of four.
Limiting passengers is not enough, as the CAA’s rules are based on the number of physical seats, not the number of passengers on board.
EasyJet said that by removing the back row of seating on its A319 fleet, it would be “building additional resilience and flexibility” into its operations.
The staffing issue seems to stem from a post-pandemic boom in bookings as airlines had not yet ramped up the number of workers to pre-COVID levels. The airlines say the British Government could have done more to support the industry during the pandemic, and to speed up the process of security checks for new staff now.
However, they have also been accused of taking on more booking than they can manage.
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