Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest airline, apologized to customers in a letter for having to cancel thousands of flights.
The majority of the airline industry is in disarray, having been forced to cancel thousands of flights due to internal and external staff shortages.
Most airlines have been reluctant to comment on these issues or have blamed them on the post-pandemic surge in demand.
Some have blamed the chaos on a lack of airport ground staff.
Lufthansa took a different approach.
How have travel disruptions impacted Lufthansa flights?
In an apology letter to customers, Lufthansa admitted that it has been struggling to keep up with the increase in passenger numbers.
“The ramp-up of the complex air transport system from almost zero to now almost 90 per cent is clearly not proceeding with the reliability, the robustness and the punctuality that we would like to offer you again,” the company wrote.
In a rare display of candor from an airline, the letter admits that the situation is unlikely to improve in the coming months.
“Too many employees and resources remain unavailable, not only at our infrastructure partners but also in some of our own areas,” wrote the company.
During the pandemic, approximately 2.3 million jobs were lost in the aviation industry, with ground handling and security suffering the most. Workers have also been slow to return, putting off their return due to low wages and long hours.
What flights have been canceled by Lufthansa this summer?
While the airline is recruiting new employees, the stabilizing effect will not be seen until this winter.
Meanwhile, the company has already announced that it will cancel over 3,000 flights this summer.
In the letter, the airline added that the war in Ukraine was increasing pressure on the industry. “This is leading to massive bottlenecks in the skies and thus, unfortunately, to further flight delays.”
What impact will flights have in 2023?
The German airline stated that they “expect to have a much more reliable air transport system worldwide” by summer 2023.
“We are further strengthening and modernizing our fleets with approximately 50 new Airbus A350, Boeing 787, and Boeing 777-9 long-haul aircraft, as well as more than 60 new Airbus A320/321s in the next three years,” the company wrote.
The airline also expressed hope that customers understood the industry’s challenges.
“We thank you for your loyalty; and we hope we may count on your understanding, too, should your journey not yet go quite as expected or planned.”
Lufthansa being upfront and honest with customers in this way is likely to build loyalty, essential in a time when airlines are struggling to win back trust.
Will this summer’s airport chaos in Europe continue?
Following the lifting of travel restrictions in most countries, the aviation industry is dealing with an unexpected surge in demand.
The increase in customers has coincided with shortages of both airline and airport personnel, which have been exacerbated by COVID infections.
So far, several airlines, including BA and easyJet, have been forced to cancel summer flights.
Hundreds of British Airways (BA) employees at Heathrow Airport have declared a strike this summer in protest of low pay. Ryanair cabin crew went on strike in Spain, Portugal, and Italy last week, while easyJet employees in Spain went on strike in July.
Customers have also reported mile-long lines and lengthy delays at airports.