British Airways modifies EX-Yugoslavia operations amid staff shortages

British Airways will make changes to its 2022 summer operations to destinations in the former Yugoslavia as it scrambles to hire enough staff to cope with the rebound in air travel. The airline is cutting around 10% of its flights up until the 2022/2023 winter season in late October, following its decision to dismiss almost 10.000 employees when it faced travel restrictions during the pandemic. The carrier’s operations between London Heathrow and Zagreb will sustain the most changes in the region. While the number of frequencies during May and June will vary on a week-by-week basis, with an average of eight rotations per week, services in July will be reduced to four per week from the initially planned eleven weekly services.

British Airways will restore its seasonal operations to Ljubljana in two weeks’ time, on May 24, with five weekly flights as planned. However, starting June 3, the airline will deploy a Finnair Airbus A321 aircraft on the majority of its services to the Slovenian capital. Due to its staff shortage, British Airways is leasing four A321s from its Oneworld alliance partner this summer, which includes Finnish crew. The Finnair A321s will also be utilised on flights from London Heathrow to Pula, Split and Zagreb on select dates up until at least July. Services to Dubrovnik and Pristina will continue operating with the carrier’s own equipment.

British Airways has so far cancelled 8.000 round trips, mostly on short haul sectors, with more expected past July. The airline plans to hire 6.000 new staff members to cope with demand, however, the process is expected to take some time. Other airlines, particularly from the United Kingdom and the United States have faced similar issues. easyJet plans to remove seats on some of its planes this summer, so that it can operate flights with fewer cabin crew. By taking out the back row of seating on its A319 fleet, easyJet said it will be able to fly with three cabin crew instead of four. That would limit numbers on board to a maximum 150 passengers. easyJet said it was an effective way of operating the fleet while "building additional resilience and flexibility" into the airline's operations.

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