Airport chaos: Which airlines are cancelling flights and why?

20 June 2022, 12:48

Cancelled flight board with airport lines
Thousands of flights have been cancelled in UK airports. Picture: Getty

By Zoe Adams

London Gatwick and Stansted as well as Manchester airports are seeing summer travel chaos, so why are so many flights being cancelled?

Thousands of holidaymakers are being left stranded at airports - including Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester - as airlines are cancelling flights last minute.

In a travel crisis that's been happening since May 2022, many well-known airlines are still cutting many trips in and out of the UK with the uncertainty expected to last until September.

Issues have included Heathrow asking airlines to cancel flights on the day of travel, staff shortages, technical issues and baggage delays.

Related article: Chaos at Stansted Airport as passengers face 'horrid' queues and people sleep in terminal

Related article: Gatwick slashes summer flights in bid to avoid more airport chaos

So as the school summer holidays approach, and everyone looks forward to their travels, here are the airlines currently cancelling flights and why:

EasyJet plane
EasyJet has faced huge disruption to their services since May. Picture: Alamy


A popular budget airline, bosses have said they are cancelling around 7% of their 160,000 flights scheduled between July and September from airports including Gatwick and Amsterdam.

While bosses have apologised for the travel disruption, they have admitted they're not sure when the chaos will come to a complete end.

So why are EasyJet cancelling so many flights? They've blamed a number of reasons including staff shortages across the airport and airline, as well as increase in demand since the Covid-19 pandemic.

EasyJet's chief executive, Johan Lundgren has said: "Coupled with airport caps, we are taking pre-emptive actions to increase resilience over the balance of summer, including a range of further flight consolidations in the affected airports, giving advance notice to customers and we expect the vast majority to be rebooked on alternative flights within 24 hours."

British Airways plane on runway
British Airways faces staff shortages and technical issues. Picture: Alamy

British Airways

British Airways has also been struggling to keep up with demand for holidays since the Easter break and with the summer approaching.

They too have cancelled thousands of flights with no end in sight for suffering passengers.

Staff shortages and technical difficulties with the system have also proven to be detrimental to the their timetable.

The airline has blamed high Covid-19 rates for their staff shortages but BA also made thousands of employees redundant during the pandemic.

TUI plane landing on runway
TUI has angered customers by cancelling holiday packages. Picture: Alamy


It's not been a great summer season for TUI Airways as it's reported they are cancelling six flights a day from Manchester until the end of June. Cardiff is also said to be affected.

The travel company has blamed the disruption on "ongoing challenges" along with "operational and supply chain issues". They have yet to give a full explanation but a spokesperson has said: "We’re incredibly sorry to those customers who have been impacted by the recent disruption to our operations.

"Whilst every cancellation is regrettable, the vast majority of our flights are operating as planned, with more than 26,000 customers taking off yesterday on holiday. We’d like to apologise again for the inconvenience caused and we thank customers for their understanding.”

Virgin flight in the sky
Virgin were asked to cancel flights after Heathrow airport chaos. Picture: Alamy


Heathrow asked a number of airline companies, including Virgin, to cancel some flights after a weekend of technical issues left the airport with a serious baggage backlog.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: "We apologise unreservedly for the disruption passengers have faced over the course of this weekend.

"The technical issues affecting baggage systems have led to us making the decision to request airlines operating in Terminals 2 and 3 to consolidate their schedules on Monday 20th June.

"This will enable us to minimise ongoing impact and we ask that all passengers check with their airlines for the latest information."