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Air chaos lasts until SPRING as British Airways scrap 1.8 million extra seats

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British Airways yesterday canceled more than 1.8 million seats until next spring in its latest blow to holidaymakers.

The flagship carrier will operate more than 11,250 flights to and from Heathrow between now and the end of March.

It threatens to drive up already high ticket prices across the industry for those hoping to go on mid-October, winter sun and ski vacations.

British Airways yesterday canceled more than 1.8 million seats until next spring, most of them to European hotspots that are less popular in winter

Experts warned that due to continued strong demand but fewer seats amid rising inflation, the price hike could be “stratospheric.”

BA said it would be pulling 1,258 flights to and from Heathrow until the end of October to meet a daily limit of 100,000 departing passengers that the airport extended into the fall last week.

But the airline is canceling another 10,000 flights between the end of October and the end of March, most of them to European hotspots that are less popular in winter, such as Paris, Dublin and Madrid.

BA said it would pull 1,258 flights to and from Heathrow to meet a daily limit of 100,000 departing passengers until the end of October, raising fears of further chaos.

Long-haul flights, which are more lucrative for the airline, will be largely protected, along with short-haul flights to ski destinations such as Switzerland, France and Austria.

But also several hundred flights to distant destinations, mainly in the Far East where strict Covid travel restrictions still apply, are among the canceled flights.

Some transatlantic flights may also be affected.

It means that between 1.8 million and almost 2 million seats will be removed from BA’s program.

The beleaguered airline canceled about 30,000 flights last summer amid a staff shortage gripping the industry.

Other airlines, such as easyJet and Wizz Air, have also jointly halted tens of thousands of flights.

BA’s move will help stabilize the carrier’s operations, reducing the risk of last-minute overbooking disruptions.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “You’re seeing a heady combination of high inflation and high demand, amid lower seats after the pandemic.

Passengers across the country have suffered as staffing issues create huge queues at travel hubs. Pictured: Manchester Airport crowds

“If inflation is projected to reach nearly 18 percent next year, you will see stratospheric price increases.”

He added: ‘If there’s any good news in these cuts, it’s that passengers are being notified more than the last-minute cancellations we saw earlier this year.

But it’s still incredibly frustrating that BA is in this situation and sad to see so many fewer flights after the pandemic than there were before the pandemic.”

Charles said the move suggests BA may be shifting its business model to run fewer flights, reducing overheads but charging more for the seats it provides.

A spokesperson for BA said it will offer customers affected by these changes an alternative flight or the option of a refund

A spokesperson for BA said it will offer customers affected by these changes an alternative flight or the option of a refund

He added: “Ironically it knows that the more flights it cancels, the more profitable it can be.”

BA flights for mid-October are already much more expensive than during the school period.

The cheapest seat from London to Gran Canaria, a popular winter sun destination, on 21 and 22 October last night was £250 and £334 respectively.

A week earlier it was £178 and £272. The jump for flights to Madeira for the same dates was from £143 to £217 and £244 to £349.

Heathrow boss John HollandKaye has warned that the sector’s staff shortage could continue until next summer, meaning the airport’s passenger ceiling must remain in place until then.

According to flight data analysts Cirium, BA would operate 120,637 flights between October 30 and March 25.

It means yesterday’s cancellations account for about 8 percent of scheduled flights.

A BA spokesperson said Monday evening: “We are offering customers affected by any of these changes an alternative flight…or the option of a refund.”

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