Can your flight be cancelled? Check out our timeline of summer strikes and work breaks

Holidaymakers face aviation chaos in the summer as British Airways has become the latest airline to go on strike during peak holiday periods.

The British flag carrier’s check-in and ground staff today voted in favor of a strike timed to coincide with the start of the summer holidays.

This comes as Ryanair and easyJet employees across Europe are preparing to strike until the end of June and early July along with other European airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France and SAS due to ongoing disputes over working conditions and wages.

Airports across the continent have seen non-strike chaos in recent weeks as airlines and airports grapple with staffing shortages in the wake of the pandemic. Thousands of flights from the UK have been canceled during this period, with easyJet being one of the airlines most affected and Ryanair one of the least affected.

And disruptions are set to continue as Gatwick decided last week to limit flight departures until July and August, causing thousands of easyJet flights to be canceled during that period.

Elsewhere, Heathrow is recovering from a weekend of baggage handling disruptions after a “technical issue” caused hundreds of unclaimed bags to pile up outside Terminal 2.

Below we describe the airline strikes, planned flight cancellations and airport capacity restrictions that have already been announced in the UK and across Europe.

June 23–25

Brussels Airlines on strike

The Belgian flag carrier will go on strike for three days. In total, 525 flights are scheduled for this period, but it is not known how many of them will be canceled.

June 24 – July 2

Ryanair strike in Europe

Ryanair employees across Europe must take part in a strike due to an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions. Ryanair employees are due to strike in Belgium and Portugal from June 24 to 26, in France from June 25 to 26, in Italy from June 25, and in Spain from June 24 to 26, June 30 and July 1 to 2.

June 25

Italian strike

Pilots and flight attendants from easyJet, MaltAir and CrewLink, and Ryanair (see above) will leave as they call for “acceptable contractual arrangements” and “salary in line with minimum national standards.”

Air France pilots strike

The air transport union Alter urged the pilots of Air France and its low-cost division Transavia to leave on Saturday. However, only 10% of pilots are union members and Air France said it does not expect services to be affected.

June 29

SAS Pilot Strike

Pilots from Norway, Sweden and Denmark working for Scandinavian airline SAS could stage a coordinated strike on June 29th. Depending on the progress of the negotiations, the strike could take place as early as June 24.

July 1 – August 31

Flights to Gatwick are limited

Gatwick Airport has limited the number of flights during the high summer season to 825 daily flights in July and 850 in August. This could result in the cancellation of up to 10,000 flights this summer, with easyJet likely to be the airline most affected. An airline spokesman said: “In response to these restrictions and to improve resilience, easyJet is actively consolidating a number of flights through the affected airports.”

July 1–3

EasyJet cabin crew strike in Spain

Spanish workers at the UK’s largest airline are at an impasse with their employer over wages, which could lead to a series of strikes until July. This comes after easyJet has already canceled thousands of flights this summer due to staff shortages in Gatwick (see above).

July 1–30

Lufthansa cancels

Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa will cancel up to 1,000 flights on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until July, about 5% of the airline’s weekend flights. The move is intended to avoid further disruptions due to ongoing staff shortages.

July 15–17

EasyJet cabin crew strike in Spain

The second suggested dates for a flight attendant strike in Spain.

July 29–31

EasyJet cabin crew strike in Spain

A third suggested dates for a flight attendant strike in Spain.

End of July – August

British Airways strikes at Heathrow Airport

Hundreds of check-in and ground handlers at the UK’s largest airport have voted to strike during peak summer holidays over an ongoing wage dispute. If the strikes continue, BA (which operates out of Terminals 3 and 5) has said it will make up for the staff shortage, but passengers will still face potential disruptions and cancellations, especially from Terminal 5.


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