Gediminas Zimelis, Chairman of the Board of Avia Solutions Group: Thousands of flights were rescheduled and canceled by leading European carriers: Why should we expect more flight disruptions


Since last spring and sometimes into the summer, many airlines have been trying to add more flights to their schedules to offset rising passenger demand. Eurocontrol forecasts air traffic growth in Europe from the current 90% by 6% by December 2022 due to increased passenger demand. The increase in air traffic means more operational challenges at major airports and increases the risk of flight disruptions.

A major European airline, Lufthansa Group, saw 33,000 flights canceled in January and February this year after an upbeat decline for the 2021 season, according to Flight Aware. This number represents about 10% of all flights that the airline has canceled from its winter schedule. Experts say the situation will repeat itself for many airlines in the coming months.

Delta Airlines canceled 4% of its flight operations over the Memorial Day weekend, according to Flight Aware data. On June 9th this year, unionists went on strike at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, causing a third of flights to be cancelled.

The increasing flight disruptions many airlines are experiencing today appear to be due to an unclear mix of operational issues that require a strategic response to mitigate their adverse impact on the airline industry.

First, the issue of inclement weather has played a significant role in the operational challenges many airlines are currently grappling with. Typically, poor weather conditions force airlines to reschedule thousands of flights and, in the worst case, ground planes and crews altogether. For example, in February 2022, Storm Eunice forced major European airlines such as British Airways to reschedule more than 80 flights, including 36 flights to the City of London and 44 commercial flights to and from Heathrow. was involved. Such unforeseen weather events have cascading impacts on flight operations that, if left unaddressed, can result in a logistical dead end.

The reality is that airlines still struggle with staffing shortages, particularly among airport pilots who complete lengthy training programs and can only qualify to fly a specific aircraft at a specific time.

European airlines will need Boeing projects to hire around 95,000 pilots to meet growing demand for commercial pilots by 2034. This equates to 5,000 newly hired pilots per year. So far, many airlines have faced an impasse in training and certifying pilots to meet this growing demand. If anything goes wrong, it is unlikely that any of these airlines will be able to pull themselves out of this crisis.

For some, the travel chaos seen at several airports is due to a shortage of ground handlers and air traffic controllers, and not necessarily a problem with low pilot supply. For example, Swissport International Ltd. lost more than a third of their workforce since the pandemic, leading to severe staff shortages. Response rates and recall rates for laid-off employees are clearly out of step with muted demand for passenger flights, resulting in chaotic flight schedules.

Wizz Air currently employs just over 6,000 from around 4,000 pre-Covid staff, but they are still being forced to cancel flights. In his view, the lack of ground staff and air traffic controllers has made it difficult to meet the “Standards and Dash” requirements for a fully functioning supply chain.

The significant increase in turbocharged air cargo aviation driven by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to operational challenges and caused widespread disruption in the aviation sector. According to IATA, European airlines reported a 2.2% increase in cargo aviation in February 2020 compared to the figures reported in February 2021. The pandemic created business opportunities for air cargo services, but also exposed many deficiencies in cargo handling, leading to cargo disruptions. flights and increased delays.

Despite the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, some airlines, particularly low-cost carriers, have been grappling with a number of other issues that are making it difficult to maintain a regular flight schedule. EasyJet, for example, announced plans to cancel more than 200 flights in 2019 with almost the same number of employees due to ground staff shortages and IT-related issues that disrupted air traffic on its main routes.

While many passengers view flight disruptions as an inconvenience beyond their control, there are still things they can do to help themselves and minimize the damage. One way to deal with such problems is to plan their itinerary so that they have buffer time in case of unforeseen turbulence and flight delays. Additionally, airlines must contend with the uncertainties that put them at increased risk of flight disruptions and turbulence leading to unstable flight schedules.

For media inquiries:
Wilma Vaitikunite
+370 686 16336
[email protected]

About Gediminus zimelis:

During his more than 24 years career in business development, Gediminas Zimelis has built over 50 startups and greenfield investments in various industries in IT, media, luxury furniture, pharmaceutical, clinical, agriculture and other sectors. Currently these companies are either owned by PE “Vertas Management” or have previously been sold and are now part of other larger organisations.

Gediminas Ziemelis is Founder and President of Avia Solutions Group – a leading global aerospace services conglomerate with approximately 100 offices and manufacturing facilities providing aviation services and solutions worldwide.

In his career to date, G. Zimelis has received many prestigious awards and industry recognition. In 2016, G. Zimelis received a prestigious European Business Award in recognition of his visionary skills in business management and development. In the same year, under his leadership, Avia Solutions Group was named National Public Champion in the Entrepreneurship category and received a place in the Top 110 European Businesses. Twice – in 2012 and again in 2014 – Zemelis was recognized as one of the top 40 most talented young leaders in the global aerospace industry by the leading US aerospace magazine, Aviation Week.

Throughout his career, Gediminas Zimelis has participated in several impressive business ventures. Between 2014 and 2017, he personally assisted and advised Chinese banks (including ICBCL, CMBL and Skyco Leasing) on ​​the financing of aircraft sale-leaseback transactions with a total value exceeding US$4 billion.

Between 2006 and 2019, the Chairman of Avia Solutions Group led successful IPOs of 4 companies in OMX and WSE, oversaw multiple public bond offerings and raised over $400 million in public capital.

According to local business media, his net worth is estimated at $1.38 billion.

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Source Avia Solutions Group



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