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Flight cancellations, strikes raise fears of new summer travel chaos in Europe


LONDON (AP) – British Airways canceled dozens of flights on Friday, blaming computer problems that disrupted the plans of thousands of passengers at the start of a busy holiday weekend – a start difficult summer tourist season in Europe.

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Technical glitches and airport staff strikes across Europe are raising concerns about a repeat of last summer’s post-pandemic air travel chaos, which caused delays, cancellations and mountains of lost luggage from London to Sweden to Amsterdam.


Most of the 42 affected flights in London are on short-haul routes to and from Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport. Thursday’s computer problems caused planes and crews to lose ground on Friday, expected to be the busiest day for UK air travel since before the pandemic due to the pandemic. caused by corona virus.

Other flights were delayed as some passengers were unable to check-in online. Travel is expected to be particularly busy over the next few days as the three-day weekend coincides with the start of a week-long holiday for most schools in the UK.


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“We are aware of a technical issue and we are working to fix it,” British Airways said on its website.

The industry is bracing for a busy summer and is hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s turmoil, when airports and airlines struggled to keep up with demand returning after major disruptions occurred. Pandemic restrictions are eased.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said: “While there may be some disruption, there is a clear expectation that the increased problems experienced by some key hub airports will be by 2022 will be resolved”.

“In response to strong demand, airlines are planning schedules based on capacity that airports, border control, ground staff and air navigation service providers have deployed. newspaper. In the coming months, all companies in the industry now need to deliver,” the airline industry group said.

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IATA warned that strikes, including by airport staff, such as air traffic controllers, were “a cause for concern”, especially in places like France. Labor action by French workers fighting the government over pension reform has caused 30% of flights to be canceled at Paris’ second-busiest airport, Orly, for a number of days.

In the UK, Heathrow security guards launched a three-day strike on Thursday over wages after being laid off during busy times earlier this year, including Easter.

Strikes are a problem, but “mitigation measures have been taken which means that in the vast majority of cases people have been able to travel from the UK as expected and we hope. the same will happen in the summer months,” said Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of Advantage Travel Partnership, which represents around 350 UK travel agents.

“The industry is comprised of many moving parts, and navigating some of the issues beyond our control at particularly busy times puts increased pressure on the entire ecosystem,” she said.


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