British Airways (BA) has announced it will cut a further 10,300 short-haul flights between now and the end of October.
The news came as it emerged the carrier has recruited René de Groot from KLM as chief operating officer, who will join on October 1 to help tackle the problems causing the continuing cancellations.
BA confirmed the latest round of cuts, affecting almost 50 return flights a day, this afternoon.
These cancellations will affect only short-haul services, with long-haul flights unaffected.
The announcement takes the total number of cancelled flights this summer to 13% of BA’s schedule.
At the start of this week, a BA spokesperson insisted the carrier had completed its latest round of flight cancellations by removing 11% of planned capacity – up from 10% following a round of cancellations two months ago.
BA insists it is informing passengers well in advance of flights being cancelled and switching most customers to alternative flights within 24 hours of their original departures.
However, the carrier and its customers are poised for more bad news with the Unite and GMB unions preparing to announce strikes by 700 BA check-in staff at Heathrow to coincide with the start of the school holidays in England and Wales later this month.
The strikes are expected to hit flights from Heathrow on the weekends of Friday July 22 and 29.
In a statement, BA said: “The whole aviation industry continues to face significant challenges and we’re completely focussed on building resilience into our operation to give customers the certainty they deserve.
“The government recently decided to give the whole industry slot alleviation to minimise potential disruption this summer.
“While taking further action is not where we want to be, it’s the right thing to do for our customers and our colleagues.
“This new flexibility means we can further reduce our schedule and consolidate some of our quieter services so that we can protect as many of our holiday flights as possible.
“While most of our flights are unaffected and the majority of customers will get away as planned, we don’t underestimate the impact this will have and we’re doing everything we can to get their travel plans back on track.
“We’re in touch to apologise and offer rebooking options for new flights with us or another airline as soon as possible or issue a full refund.”
A statement on the appointment of de Groot said: “We’re pleased to welcome René de Groot to our senior management committee team, who will be joining us as our Chief Operating Officer (COO). As we navigate an extremely challenging period for our industry, we are completely focused on three priorities: our customers, supporting the biggest recruitment drive in our history and increasing our operational resilience to deliver the best possible experience for our customers.”
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, commented: “This latest raft of flight cancellations is a damning indictment of BA’s mismanagement of its summer flight schedule. BA has continued to promote and sell flights it could not fulfil, even as thousands of customers have faced the chaos of cancellations in recent weeks.
“Which? recently reported BA to the Civil Aviation Authority for neglecting to tell passengers about their right to compensation and failing to reroute customers at the earliest opportunity. The CAA must take action if BA fails to meet its legal obligations amid this latest round of cancellations.”