By Holly Williams, Press Association Deputy City Editor
EasyJet has added to fears over a summer of travel chaos as it revealed that nearly 1,300 flights were cancelled last month, with no end in sight to air traffic control strike action.
The budget airline said it cancelled 1,263 flights in June, with around 900 due to French and Italian strike action and a further 150 caused by air traffic control (ATC) restrictions and poor weather.
This marks a steep increase on the 974 flight easyJet flights cancelled in May and compares with just 213 a year earlier.
Its figures come just a day after Ryanair said ATC strike action on the Continent left more than 210,000 of its passengers hit by flight cancellations in June.
The Dublin-based carrier said more than 1,100 flights were cancelled for the second month running, due to air traffic control strikes over four weekends in June.
It lays bare the travel woes facing passengers heading into the key summer holiday travel season as the industrial action continues to wreak havoc.
Ryanair and British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) have recently joined forces to prepare a legal complaint to the European Commission over the crippling ATC strikes.
They will argue that EU law is being infringed by not adequately protecting flights over France as they claim the commission’s failure to tackle the issue is breaching freedom of movement for Europeans.
Air traffic control strikes are costly for airlines and hugely disruptive for passengers, especially in France, as many UK flights need to use the country’s air space or fly longer routes to avoid it.
But ATC action has become a regular headache for the industry in recent years, with 2017 said to be a record for strikes, with 41 days affected.
Despite the cancellations, easyJet saw the number of passengers flown rise 2.3% to 7.9 million in June and its load factor – a measure of how well airlines fill their planes – improved from 94.8% to 95.4%.
Pic by Gareth Fuller/PA Wire