European carrier KLM has announced it will be cutting down its summer schedule to reduce last-minute flight cancellations. The airline will cancel between 10 and 20 return flights a day between now and the end of August and “strongly restrict” sales of remaining flights to its European destinations.

KLM Cuts Summer Flights

KLM has become the latest in a string of airlines to cut their summer schedule after weeks of “operational challenges” caused by staff shortages and the rise in demand for seats following the pandemic. In the UK alone, KLM’s subsidiary Cityhopper has cancelled almost 100 flights out of the 1,280 scheduled for June, a worse cancellation rate than both British airways and EasyJet over the same period.

KLM A330 moments before landing. @ Luke Sobiechowski / Travel Radar
KLM A330 moments before landing | @ Luke Sobiechowski / Travel Radar

In addition to cutting flights, the airline says it will “strongly restrict the sale of remaining seats on KLM and Cityhopper flights to European destinations”. According to the Financial Times, the airline has chosen to restrict the sale of low-cost seats, in particular, leaving only the most expensive tickets. Data from Google Flights showed the cheapest return flight from London to Amsterdam in July was £700,  up £140 from last month.

The airline says passengers affected by the cancellations will be informed in a timely manner and rebooked onto a new flight. The carrier says the replacement flights “will depart on the same day or as close as possible to the original booking.”

Trouble at Schiphol

Operational challenges at the KLM’s base in Amsterdam Schiphol might have played a role in the airline’s decision to cut flights. Last month, the airport capped the number of passengers that could depart from its terminals each day to mitigate the chaos caused by staff shortages.

KLM Schiphol
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is the 11th busiest airport in the world and acts as a hub for KLM. | © Robin Utrecht / EPA via Shutterstock

A week after the short-term limits on passenger numbers were introduced, the Dutch government announced it would be cutting the number of flights from Schiphol from 500,000 to 440,000 by next year in an attempt to reduce air and noise pollution.

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