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More UK Easter flights disrupted amid COVID staff absences


British travelers faced more disruptions during the Easter holiday break as two major airlines, British Airways and easyJet, canceled about 100 flights Wednesday.

British Airways canceled two flights because of coronavirus-related staff absences, on top of more than 70 flights that it had canceled in advance as part of adjustments to its schedule. Budget carrier easyJet scrubbed at least 30 flights to or from London’s Gatwick airport.

The aviation industry is suffering from staff shortages because of both a surge in coronavirus-related staff sickness in the U.K. and a shortage of workers because of pandemic-related job cuts.

British Airways and easyJet have canceled hundreds of flights since the weekend, which marked the start of a two-week Easter school holiday break.

EasyJet said it will operate most of its 1,545 flights planned for Wednesday, with a “small proportion” canceled in advance to give customers enough time to book new ones.

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The airline says the number of crew illnesses are at more than double normal levels because of high COVID-19 infection rates across Europe.

British Airways said many of its cancellations include flights that were cut when it decided last month to reduce its schedule until the end of May to boost reliability amid rising COVID-19 cases.

Infections across the U.K. have soared again with the rapid spread of the more transmissible omicron BA.2 variant, reaching record levels last week when official figures showed that some 1 in 13 people had the virus.

The Easter school holidays are the first time many families in Britain have booked trips abroad after two years of pandemic restrictions. All remaining virus measures, including mandatory self-isolation for those infected and testing requirements for international travel, were scrapped in February and March.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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