By John Flett
Lufthansa Group Cites ‘Operational Challenges’ As More Flights Suspended
The European summer season ramps up further next week with the beginning of school holidays in a number of countries. It has been well documented that aviation has been facing significant challenges in recommencing services with operational pressures on staff numbers and the continuation of degrees of travel restrictions in some countries.
The Lufthansa Group acknowledged these challenges to its customers this week with an email from the Executive Board. The statement read: “As the Northern Hemisphere summer begins and with global travel restrictions now almost all lifted, everyone involved in aviation worldwide is reaching almost daily the limits of the resources that are currently available. And the ramp-up of the complex air transport system from almost zero to now almost 90 percent is clearly not proceeding with the reliability, the robustness and the punctuality that we would like to offer you again.”
As a result, German-based Lufthansa is removing about 2200 flights from its schedule and fellow Lufthansa Group airline SWISS is removing a further 674 flights between August and October. The Local Swiss news site reports that the latest flight suspensions are in addition to those removed from schedules on 08 June. The airline is cited as saying: “Further cuts, unfortunately, cannot be avoided due to resource constraints and operational challenges across the airline industry.”
Lufthansa Group advised passengers that “too many employees and resources are still unavailable, not only at our infrastructure partners but in some of our own areas, too. Almost every company in our industry is currently recruiting new personnel, with several thousand planned in Europe alone. However, this increase in capacity will only have its desired stabilizing effect by the time winter comes.”
The apology to customers by the Executive Board mentioned that the war in Ukraine was also contributing to the issues that airlines are experiencing and that “the situation is unlikely to improve in the short term.” SWISS also added: “We very much regret the further flight plan adjustments that have become necessary and expressly apologize to the passengers affected and our partners for the inconvenience caused as a result.”
The recently announced cuts for SWISS account for approximately two percent of the total scheduled flights. A mix of short-haul and long-haul services is expected to be affected with flights to Dubai and Johannesburg cut. The Local also reports that some U.S. flights will also be affected through the destinations were not immediately confirmed.
The Lufthansa Group Executive Board concluded the communication to customers by stating: “We are doing our utmost to again offer you the quality, the punctuality and the reliability that you can rightly expect from your Lufthansa Group airlines as soon as we possibly can.”