The travel plans of thousands of Aer Lingus customers have been thrown into disarray after the airline cancelled flights to multiple destinations across the EU for the remainder of the year blaming a lack of demand.
As The Irish Times reports, since the start of this week, the airline has cancelled flights to Croatia as well as cities in France and Italy.
Confirming the cancellations, Aer Lingus said it was rearranging its summer schedule in the wake of the recent confirmation from the Government that restrictions on international travel are set to be eased from the middle of next month.
Among the destinations to have flights pulled in July and August are Perpignan, Nantes, Catania and Alghero as well as Croatia.
“Aer Lingus plans to fly as full a schedule as possible, driven by demand, following the easing of travel restrictions on July 19th,” a spokesman said.
“Given the situation with international travel prior to the recent Government announcement, it was not possible for Aer Lingus to accurately predict where the demand would be,” he continued.
“Destinations that were not attracting enough demand from customers have now been cancelled for the remainder of 2021.”
He said the move will allow Aer Lingus “to focus its capacity on routes where there is the greatest demand”.
He concluded by saying that the airline had tried to provide customers “with as much notice of cancellations as possible and in every instance a full refund has been offered to those impacted”.
Airlines have been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic with air travel virtually grounding to a halt since March 2020. Passenger traffic through Dublin Airport is down more than 90 per cent this year compared with 2019 .
The aviation sector is optimistic there will be a recovery in the second half of the year.
However, fears over Covid variants and the uncertainty regarding the EU-wide Digital Green Certificate intended to facilitate the re-opening of international travel, means consumer confidence in flying again has yet to pick up.