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European travel chaos mounts as Germany’s flagship carrier cancels 2,000 more flights

July 13, 2022, 3:17 PM UTC
Lufthansa airline
Lufthansa has canceled nearly 6,000 flights as European travel worsens.
Patrick Pleul—picture alliance/Getty Images

Deutsche Lufthansa AG plans to cut an additional 2,000 flights until the end of August, bringing the airline’s total number of cancellations to almost 6,000 as Europe’s travel disruptions continue to worsen.

Most of the flights affected are domestic routes scheduled to take off from Munich or Frankfurt, a representative for the German carrier said. Long-haul flights and trips to vacation destinations will be largely spared.

The move “is meant to counter the precarious situation” at its two major German hubs, Thomas Jachnow, a spokesman for the airline, said by phone. The carrier realized that it was able to stabilize operations at the two airports with targeted cancelations and is now enacting more of those, he said.

Lufthansa previously canceled 3,100 flights after a wave of COVID-19 infections swept through its workforce. The carrier later scrapped another 770 flights and restricted seat sales to its most expensive category to limit availability. That move raised the price of even the cheapest return flights between London and Frankfurt to 1,000 euros ($1,003).

Other European airlines have also been hit hard by staffing shortages and travel chaos as demand for seats rebounds following the easing of pandemic restrictions. British Airways has scrapped 13% of flights, and London Heathrow airport asking carriers not to sell additional tickets for peak summer travel.

By canceling flights ahead of time and restricting ticket sales, airports and carriers are trying to avoid scenes of chaos that broke out at airports in recent weeks and months, when flights were scrapped at the last minute due to staff shortages or other bottlenecks. 

Lufthansa shares traded 1.6% lower Wednesday afternoon in Frankfurt.

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