Executives are defending the industry as airlines cancel flights around the world

Air travel is back, but not without some significant hiccups.

Especially in North America and Europe, passengers describe the chaos of airports, with many canceled or delayed flights, lost luggage and waiting time on board aircraft over four hours. This is partly due to the shortage of labor from the pandemic, as layoffs have put pressure on airports and airlines, facing an increase in summer passengers willing to travel.

Speaking to CNBC’s Dan Murphy about restoring the sector, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that after nearly two years of drastically reduced activity, it would take some time for the system to run smoothly again.

“The whole industry is experiencing this everywhere, and we see some of it in Australia,” Joyce said at the 78th annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday.

“It’s not as bad as you see in Europe or the North American market,” he said. “We saw long queues at airports during Easter; nothing like you’ve seen in London, Manchester and Dublin and elsewhere in Europe.

“And I think it’s taking a while. The system is rusty, everything was closed for two years,” he added. “It will take some time to make this system buzz again. It’s a huge, complex business, with a lot of moving parts involved. “

IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in a separate interview from Doha that the chaos and delays at the airport were “isolated” and not every airport was experiencing problems.

However, he added that the airline has not yet “come out of the woods” when it comes to recovery.

“Yes, we want to do better and yes, we will do better. But I would strongly urge consumers who are looking to fly to reflect on the fact that this is not happening everywhere, “said Walsh. “And in the vast, vast majority of cases, flights are scheduled, without interruption, without any problems at the airport, and I think you can look forward to enjoying the experience of flying again.”

The comments came after thousands more flights were canceled in the United States over the weekend and last Friday, which has been the busiest day for air travel in the country so far this year, according to the Transportation Security Administration. By Friday afternoon, the airlines had done so canceled more than 1,000 flights after canceling 1,700 on Thursdaythe Associated Press reported.

Some on Saturday 6,300 flights to, from and within the United States were delayed and more than 800 have been canceled, NBC News reported, citing flight tracking site FlightAware.

“Demand is huge”

And yet, for Qantas, Australia’s leading carrier, the internal return seems to be triggered on all cylinders.

“It’s really good – in Australia, in the internal market, we are seeing huge growth in demand, with leisure demand exceeding 120%, the corporate market and SME markets returning to 90% of pre-Covid levels and so we have almost full capacity restored to the internal market, “Joyce said.

Recovery of international flights is “a little slower,” he said, at about 50 percent of pre-Covid levels. But he expects that by Christmas international business will be at 85% of pre-Covid levels and that by March next year we will be at 100%.

“But the demand is huge,” he added. “We have more international demand than we have seen in some cases before Covid, with less capacity, which allows us to recoup fuel costs, increase yields.”

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