British Airways cancels hundreds more summer flights from Heathrow and Gatwick Airports

Holidaymakers face a summer of disruption, ITV News reports.

British Airways is set to cancel hundreds more summer flights, after previous schedule cuts aimed at easing travel chaos proved insufficient.

The airline said in a statement that it has “regrettably” become necessary to further reduce its operations, as operators around the UK slash flights during the peak holiday season.

Tens of thousands of passengers are expected to be affected by the latest move to cancel flights at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

The government has introduced a slot amnesty, which enables airlines to temporarily hand back, without punishment, any take-off and landing slots they do not have the resources to use.

Under normal rules, carriers lose slots if they do not use them.

The move came after Jubilee weekend holidaymakers were left frustrated by flight delays and long queues in a phenomenon that has continued to plague travellers into the summer.

Strings of cancellations left some holidaymakers stuck abroad - as airlines struggled to keep pace with the number of booked flights.

Holidaymakers suffered thousands of flights being cancelled - and many passengers forced to wait for several hours in long queues at airports missed their flights altogether.

The reasons behind the aviation industry's woes have been explained by a surge in demand for travel coinciding with staff shortages across roles such as airline crew, ground handlers, airport security staff and air traffic controllers.

The pressure on airlines also followed Covid cutbacks, after the pandemic travel shutdowns brought the industry to its knees.

Industry bosses rowed with the government over the shortages, as they claimed they were not given enough support to fill staffing gaps as travel reopened.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hit back - ordering airlines to stop selling flights they couldn't staff.

In May, British Airways (BA) announced that it would cancel 10% of flights between April and October in an attempt to avoid having to axe flights on the day of departure.

But the latest cancellations take this figure to around 11%.

The carrier said: “We took pre-emptive action earlier this year to reduce our summer schedule to provide customers with as much notice as possible about any changes to their travel plans.

“As the entire aviation industry continues to face into the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions.

“We’re in touch with customers to apologise and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund.”

BA also welcomed the government's slot amnesty, saying it is “making it easier to consolidate some of our quieter daily flights to multi-frequency destinations well in advance, and to protect more of our holiday flights”.

Heathrow ordered 30 flights for the morning of June 30 to be cancelled at short notice in a rare “schedule intervention” because it would have been unable to handle the passengers.

BA workers based at the west London airport are deciding on strike dates which are likely to be during the peak summer holiday period.

Members of the GMB and Unite unions, including check-in staff, voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay.

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