Aviation group IAG, the parent company of British Airways, has had to scale back its plans to increase capacity this year due to staff shortages at London’s Heathrow airport. This year, the company had hoped to fly at 85 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity.
Due to the staffing issues at Heathrow, IAG expects total capacity by 2022 to be 80 percent of 2019. In addition to British Airways, IAG also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus.
British Airways has set up a special task force to solve the problems at Heathrow. Partner airlines, including American Airlines and Finnair Oyj, also provide capacity support. Also, a temporary cabin crew is brought from Spain, and the number of self-service luggage services is doubled.
British Airways have now hired about 1,600 people. In addition, 3,100 employees from the head office are in the process of going to work elsewhere.
British Airways is expected to fly at 74 percent of pre-pandemic capacity, compared with 86 percent at Iberia, 88 percent at Ireland’s Aer Lingus and 100 percent at budget airline Vueling. According to IAG CEO Luis Gallego, the start-up problems in Spanish Iberia are less serious because fewer people have been laid off during the pandemic than at British Airways.
IAG also released quarterly figures. The group suffered an operating loss of 731 million euros. That was more than analysts expected. However, CEO Gallego expects IAG to be profitable again this year, thanks to the high number of bookings now at 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels.