Italian strikes add to air travel chaos as Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2 ground flights

Airline passengers face further widespread disruption on Wednesday with industrial action in Italy adding to dozens of cancellations expected.

British Airways has grounded 122 short-haul domestic and European routes from its main base at London Heathrow. Many were canceled with weeks’ notice, but some passengers to and from Milan received less warning.

BA has also grounded a return trip to Milan Malpensa from Gatwick and London City airports.

At London Gatwick, easyJet continues to cancel many short-term flights. Wednesday’s cancellations began with connections to Spain’s main airports of Alicante and Malaga.

Eighteen flights to and from Italy are grounded, with destinations including the three airports of Milan, Rome, Venice and Pisa.

Services to Belfast City, Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, Nice and Toulouse are also canceled by easyJet, giving a total to date of 34 to and from Gatwick – affecting more than 5,000 passengers.

From Luton, easyJet anchored a single round trip to Venice. It also canceled a Manchester-Jersey service.

Ryanair and Jet2, which have so far canceled very few flights during the summer, have grounded return trips from London Stansted: Ryanair to Genoa, Milan Bergamo and Verona, and Jet2 to Verona.

British Airways, easyJet and some major airports are understaffed. But Health Secretary Sajid Javid has rejected the travel industry‘s call for aviation workers to be added to Britain’s list of shortage occupations.

He said BBC today“The government has provided record amounts of support during the pandemic.

“We haven’t really seen problems like this in other countries.

“Many of these countries also have low unemployment rates.

“It’s time for the industry to take a little more responsibility for solving its own problems.

Tim Jeans, manager of Newquay Airport in Cornwall, told the program the aviation industry “should have planned better”.

He said: “The spike came back earlier than expected.

“We had to resource our operations better than we did at Easter and during the mid-term break.

“Some operators, but not all, got caught.”

But, he said, “recruitment is happening at a pace.”

Martin Chalk, General Secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) said BBC today there was no overall flight crew shortage, but that delays resulted from training.

“There are plenty of drivers available,” he said. “It’s not a lack of pilots – it’s difficulties with the training system.”

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