Europe is in the grips of a heatwave, the likes of which it hasn’t seen in centuries. Just last month, temperatures soared over 40 degrees. Conditions are so adverse, that this June has been recorded as the hottest June in the history of the continent.
Industries across Europe are being affected by these raging temperatures, and the aviation industry isn’t far behind. Many airlines and airports across Europe are experiencing massive delays because of unpredictable weather. Holidaymakers from Europe and those heading to European destinations can expect long wait times and flight cancellations as the year progresses.
Massive thunderstorms add to growing concern
Passengers in European airports are finding themselves receiving the shorter end of the stick, as bad weather is worsening the already terrible condition of flight delays in their countries. Many places like London and France are already in the clutches of workers’ strikes, which have led to long delays and flight cancellations. Now, Air Traffic Control units across the continent have issued travel warnings to multiple airlines, on the grounds of heatwave-induced unaccountable weather.
Ryanair, one of the leading air carriers in Europe, has already cancelled 14 flights from London Stansted Airport, as the ATC conveyed news of potential flash storms. In Northern Ireland, the situation worsened as hefty downpours disrupted flights at the Belfast International Airport. Authorities have issued a severe weather warning in Northern Ireland, stating that the storm would continue to rage for a few more days. The downpour is also expected to affect Scotland, South West England and South Wales. Extended power cuts are anticipated in airports, bus terminals and rail stations and numerous delays are anticipated.
England’s Gatwick Airport and Heathrow International Airport to have released a statement asking passengers to reconfirm their flight timings, as unfavourable weather may affect scheduled take-offs and landings.
Rebooking may become a major problem
Airports across Europe witnessed extremely long queues and fraying tempers early in June. Passengers at the London Stansted Airport took to social media to post their experiences at the airport, terming the delays “a nightmare”. Many even complained about their inability to rebook cancelled flights.
Lack of operational support, extended labour strikes and unusual weather have resulted in extreme inefficiency at London Stansted Airport. Thousands of passengers were forced to stay overnight at the airport, sleeping on luggage or waiting in queues for hours, for refunds and re-bookings. The case was the same across Europe.
Not just an airport problem
Not only airports, but the heatwave-induced storms have also disrupted travel at ferry terminals and railway stations. France’s Eurotunnel made travellers wait for over four hours, before informing them of cancellations. Passengers were told that re-bookings would be allowed only in specific circumstances and all other trips would be indefinitely delayed or cancelled until the weather became more convenient to travel.
The case was the same at the Port of Dover, where passengers experienced a delay of two hours at the border, due to congestion on the waters. Port Authorities have advised travellers to get enough food and beverage to wait out their delays at the Port.