Brussels Airlines had to cancel five flights over the weekend due to a staff shortage, with those absences largely related to illness and quarantine.
“And exceptional number of people sick and many parents had to go into quarantine because the children had tested positive for Covid-19,” a spokesperson told Belga News Agency.
At the start of the autumn holidays, Brussels Airlines was working at full capacity and they emphasised that the flight cancellations over the weekend do not reflect a structural problem. “The statistics were against us,” said the spokesperson. “It’s about a fraction of our operations.”
Spread over three days, flights to New York, Prague, Stockholm, Tenerife and Frankfurt were cancelled as a result of the staff shortages. Where possible, travellers were offered an alternative.
According to the spokesperson, the situation is not comparable to that in the US, where American Airlines had to cancel hundreds of flights over the weekend due to a combination of bad weather and staff shortages. Brussels Airlines plans to utilise extra reserves for the upcoming final weekend of the autumn holidays.
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The airline reports that it is beginning to bounce back after the difficulties brought on by the pandemic, with strong summer demand for travel leading to a positive third quarter.
“We see that due to the pandemic, many people who had not been able to travel due to lockdowns were eager to travel in the summer, but also in September, outside of traditional holiday periods, which led to a prolonged summer peak for us,” said Nina Öwerdieck, Chief Financial Officer of Brussels Airlines, in a statement.
“This high demand, together with the competitive cost position resulting from our restructuring in the Reboot Plus program, have led to a positive result in the third quarter.”