EasyJet was forced to cancel flights this weekend as large numbers of staff were off sick with COVID. The British low-cost airline expects hundreds more flights to be cancelled this week.

Hundreds of flights cancelled by UK carriers

EasyJet cancelled 222 flights last weekend due to staff sickness from COVID-19. The airline said it had rostered additional crew to help ease the strain and yet has still been forced to make last-minute cancellations. Data from uk.flightaware.com shows 120 flights cancelled yesterday alone, the highest rate among any European carrier, and cancellations continue further into the week.

EasyJet cancellations over easter
The cancellations have come at the start of the Easter holidays, a time when many families will be travelling abroad | © easyJet

EasyJet is not the only one struggling, though. British Airways has also been forced to cancel flights, whilst Heathrow and Manchester airports have been experiencing flight delays and longer boarding times. An easyJet spokesperson said:

“As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses, easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness.”

As a result of cancellations, some holidaymakers have been stuck abroad this Sunday with no alternative route home offered by the airline, the Guardian reports.

 

UK COVID cases are at a historic high

The UK has been experiencing record levels of coronavirus cases this month, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for airlines. This weekend was the start of the Easter holidays for UK schools when carriers will see increased demand from families looking to travel abroad. The easing of Covid border restrictions worldwide has also allowed more people to travel, further increasing the numbers.

Meanwhile, in Britain, cases of COVID are the highest they’ve ever been, with as many as one in every 13 people affected, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The latest weekly figures from the ONS report that 4.9 million have been affected due to a highly-transmissible variant of Omicron known as BA.2.

With cases still rising and the holiday season in full swing, it will be interesting to see how airlines fare with the demand.

How do you think the rising coronavirus cases will affect airlines this Easter? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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