Europe’s airlines are expected to cancel many tens of thousands of flights in January and February.
Lufthansa Group alone is cancelling 33,000 flights in the coming weeks.
Just before Christmas I started this Forum thread. Until now the news has not created much of an impact.
Many readers are located outside the UK and therefore stand to be impacted by Lufthansa’s cancellations
The news first emerged in the Frankfurter Allgemeine [paywall], and what is newsworthy I believe that these cancellations concern a travel downturn more than staff sickness.
An English translation has now been provided by Germany’s Deutsche Welle.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told Frankfurter Allgemeiner Sonntagszeitung about a sharp downturn in bookings, especially between mid-January and throughout February.
“Above all we are missing passengers in our home markets of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium, because these countries have been hardest hit by the pandemic,” he said.
However because of airport slot rules “we will have to carry out 18,000 extra, unnecessary flights, just to secure our take-off and landing rights,” Spohr said.
At time of writing Lufthansa had not revealed the flights that would be cancelled.
It therefore means that customers who have bookings with Lufthansa between now and the end of February must check their flight status.
Of the other airlines cancelling flights we reported on Ryanair earlier along with Hungarian-based airline Wizzair who is cancelling over 80 routes although almost all of these do not involve the UK (at time of writing).
Note that I say “time of writing,” because some airlines make a lot of noise when they launch a new route or routes but stay silent when a route is dropped.
Further cancellations can be expected in the weeks ahead depending on how the pandemic affects travel demand.
For example, British Airways is, according to aviation analyst @SeanM1997, cancelling its Lahore route from February 27 and this is a development which BA has yet to announce.
When I checked with Ba.com today for travel after February 27 I was only offered connecting flights with Qatar Airways via Doha.
Yet last September Business Traveller reported that BA was to increase its flights to Lahore.
In conclusion, and against a background when worldwide over 4,000 flights were cancelled last Sunday alone, during these uncertain times readers must check their flight status beforehand.