FAfter a promising travel season in the fall of 2021, European airlines are forced to significantly reduce their next flight schedules in winter due to a drop in bookings.
The Lufthansa Group has confirmed that it will cancel 33,000 winter flights, or around 10% of its schedule, according to a statement from Lufthansa Group Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr sent to AFAR.
“In the fall, we were still pleasantly surprised to see how well our business had recovered. But from mid-January to February, we actually see a big drop in bookings, ”Spohr said.
The Lufthansa Group is one of the largest airlines in Europe and consists of the German airline Lufthansa, as well as Swiss International Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings. The company did not specify which flights were being cut and whether they included transatlantic service.
Lufthansa is not the only European airline to make reductions. Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is also cutting its January schedule by 33% due to a drop in bookings the airline attributed to the Omicron variant and tighter travel restrictions across Europe.
Ryanair reduced its capacity in January from around 10 million passengers to between 6 and 7 million passengers. The carrier said it was in standby mode for February and March. “In light of the current uncertainty regarding the Omicron variant. . . no reduction in schedules has yet been decided for February or March 2022. These schedules will be reviewed in January as more scientific information becomes available on the Omicron variant, ”Ryanair said in a statement on the January reductions.
The drop in winter flights came just as some international carriers had started increasing their flight offers to Europe for 2022. On December 14, Lufthansa announced it would offer more flights to and from the States. United in 2022 than ever before, including a new route from St. Louis, Missouri to Frankfurt that starts in June 2022 and marks the first non-stop flight to Europe from St. Louis in 20 years.
Lufthansa also plans to introduce its first flights to Stavanger, Norway; Liverpool, UK; and Rennes, France this year.
In mid-December, even as it announced it would cut service to some smaller U.S. hubs, Delta Air Lines revealed it would be bringing its flights back from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Stockholm. , in Sweden, for 2022, a return that is five years in the making, according to the carrier.
The airline said it plans to operate up to 70 daily flights to and from 21 destinations in Europe from 10 US airports this summer.
If financial markets are any indication, the current winter travel crisis in Europe could be short-lived. the Financial Time reported that airline shares began to rebound on Jan.4, in hopes that the threat posed by the Omicron variant will begin to subside.
“The global theme in the markets is that we have reached the peak of COVID,” said Roger Lee, head of UK equity strategy at Investec. Financial Time.