Executives protect industry as airlines cancel flights around the world

Air travel is ramping up again, but not without some significant hiccups.

Particularly in North America and Europe, travelers have described chaos at airports, with numerous flights canceled or delayed, luggage lost and boarding times exceeding four hours. That’s partly a result of labor shortages due to the pandemic, as staff layoffs have put pressure on airports and airlines in the face of an influx of passengers eager to travel in the summer.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, speaking to CNBC’s Dan Murphy about the industry’s recovery, said that after nearly two years of significant decline in activity, it will take some time for the system to function properly again.

“The entire industry everywhere is going through this and we are going through this,” Joyce said at the 78th Annual General Assembly of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday. I’m seeing some of that in Australia.

“It’s not as bad as you’re seeing in Europe or in the North American market,” the CEO said. “We’ve seen over Easter long queues at airports; nothing like you’ve seen in London, Manchester and Dublin and elsewhere across Europe.”

“And I think it’s going to take some time. The system has rusted, everything has been shut down for two years,” he added. “It’s going to take a while for that system to work again. It’s a hugely complex undertaking, there’s a lot of moving parts involved in it.”

IATA director general, Willie Walsh, in a separate interview with Doha, said the chaos and delays at the airport were “isolated” and not every airport had problems.

However, he added that the aviation industry is not yet “out of the woods” when it comes to the beginning of the recovery.

“Yes, we want to do better, and yes, we will. But I really urge consumers who are looking for flying opportunities to reflect on the fact that this doesn’t happen everywhere. place,” Walsh said. “And in the vast majority of cases, flights are running on schedule, with no interruptions, no problems at the airport, and I think you can look forward to enjoying the experience again.” again.”

Those comments come as thousands more flights were canceled in the US over the weekend and the previous Friday, by far the country’s busiest air travel day this year, according to the US Department of Homeland Security. Security Transportation. By Friday afternoon, airlines were canceled more than 1,000 flights, after having canceled 1,700 on ThursdayAssociated Press reported.

On Saturday, some 6,300 flights to, from and within the US have been delayed and more than 800 were cancelled, NBC News reported, citing flight tracking website FlightAware.

‘The demand is huge’

For Qantas, Australia’s leading carrier, however, the domestic return appears to be explosive across all pillars.

“That’s really good – in Australia, the domestic market, we’re seeing massive growth in demand, with entertainment demand over 120%, corporate and SME markets back 90 % of pre-Covid levels, and so we have Joyce speaking.

International flight recovery, he said, is “slightly slower”, at around 50% of pre-Covid levels. But he expects that by Christmas, international business will be at 85% of pre-Covid levels, and by “March next year, we’ll be at 100%.”

“But the demand is huge,” he added. “In some cases we have more demand than international demand, in some cases we have foreseen Covid, with lower capacity, allowing us to recover fuel costs , increase production.”

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