It is not only in Europe that the sky is disturbed: across the Atlantic too, hundreds of flights have had to be canceled in recent days. A blow for the many Americans who wanted to join their families on this national holiday.
Airlines have had to cancel hundreds of flights in the United States due in particular to staffing problems. According to flightaware.com, at least 600 flights could not be operated on Saturday, while nearly 3,100 others were delayed. The situation was already difficult the day before, according to the specialized site, which listed 587 canceled flights on Friday out of a total of 3,060 worldwide, and nearly 8,000 delays.
Lack of staff
In France, 150 flights out of 1,300 were canceled on Saturday at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, the French airport most affected by a social conflict over wages and working conditions within Groupe ADP. Air traffic was also disrupted by a strike by cabin crew from EasyJet and Ryanair.
As in France, the setbacks of American passengers constitute a basic trend: the airlines of the United States, which employ 15% less staff compared to the pre-pandemic period, are having difficulty managing the massive return of passengers to their planes. Companies in the sector say they are working to solve the problem, intensifying their recruitment campaigns for pilots and other categories of personnel and reducing the number of seats available for passengers.
A recovery not anticipated enough
Officials in the aviation sector mention other aggravating external factors, in particular climatic or due to Covid. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reminded passengers on Twitter on Saturday that they are entitled to a refund in the event of cancellation.
Delta Airlines pilots also demonstrated on Thursday to demand wage increases in relation to the number of overtime hours worked. “It’s frankly irresponsible to overbook. Coming out of the pandemic, we plan more flights than we have people to fly them, ”regrets one of their union representatives, Jason Ambrosi, on the CNN channel on Saturday.
Massive cancellations, however, have not stopped travelers from thronging airports, with the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) estimating the number of checks – nearly 2.5 million on Friday – was for the first time “back to pre-pandemic volume”. A figure all the more impressive as 42 million Americans, a record, had to travel by car during this weekend of festivities, according to the American Automobile Association.