Air chaos in Europe and the US affects flights in 9 countries

Rising demand, strikes and outbreaks of respiratory diseases worsen the situation in the northern hemisphere

The crisis faced by air transport during the northern hemisphere summer vacation in recent weeks goes beyond Portugal. A scenario of chaos settled in several airports in Europe and the United States. There are records of cancellations, flight delays and lost luggage.

Four factors contribute to air chaos: outbreaks of respiratory diseases such as Covid-19; strikes by professionals in the airline industry; increased demand with the start of summer vacations in the US and Europe; and the recovery of the sector after 2 years of pandemic.


In the US, more than 12,000 flights were delayed and hundreds were canceled in the days leading up to the country’s Independence Day holiday, on Monday (July 4, 2022), according to the television station. CNBC.

The country also faces an increase in passenger flow and a shortage of workers in the aviation sector. According to the broadcaster, almost 176,000 flights arrived at least 15 minutes late from June 1st to June 29th – the number represents more than 23% of scheduled flights.

More than 20,000 –almost 3% of flights– were cancelled. The numbers represent a 20% increase in delayed flights and a 2% increase in canceled flights over the same period in 2019.

In April, the US Department of Transportation received 3,105 complaints from travelers about US airlines, nearly 300% more than the same month in 2021.


At least 8 European countries face network problems. Civil aviation workers have paralyzed activities in companies operating in Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. It was the case of low cost Ryanairwhich registered a 3-day strike.

In Germany and the Netherlands, there are difficulties in dealing with the increase in traffic during this period. German airline Lufthansa announced that it would cancel at least 2,200 scheduled flights from June to July after an outbreak of Covid-19 among employees exacerbated the labor shortage.

Here is the situation in 5 other European countries:


  • Brazilians in Portugal report wait 4 days to return to Brazil;
  • over the weekend, more than 100 flights were cancelled; on Monday (4.Jul), there were 30; this Tuesday (July 5), ANA (Portugal Airports and Air Navigation) reported that cancellations reached 32 flights;
  • most flights are from TAP, which connects Lisbon with cities such as São Paulo, Brasília, Porto Alegre, Recife, Salvador and Belo Horizonte;
  • the video of a Brazilian in Portugal went viral; he says he’s with “same underwear” 5 days ago;
  • on Monday (July 4), TAP’s CEO, Christine Ourmières-Widener, said in an email to customers that the situation “should not improve”.


  • The strike at Ryanair, which has affected flights in the country, is expected to extend until July 14;
  • the company’s cabin crew low cost EasyJet will have 9 days of downtime on July weekends: 1st to 3rd, 15th to 17th and 29th to 31st;
  • on Saturday alone (July 2), 15 flights were canceled and 175 were postponed at Madrid airport alone.


  • Brussels Airlines employees stopped for 3 days at the end of June;
  • the strike affected 60% of the company’s flights;
  • the airline announced on Monday (4.Jul) the cancellation of around 700 flights in the months of July to August;
  • the reason: reducing the workload of employees;
  • the company estimates a loss of 10.2 million euros.


  • workers at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport suspended activities from June 29 to July 3;
  • what they ask for: salary readjustment;
  • as a result of the strike, around 20% of the terminal’s flights were cancelled.


  • 700 employees of the British Airways airline stationed at Heathrow airport, in London, decided to suspend activities in July;
  • they urge the company to reverse a 10% tax pay cut during the pandemic;
  • according to the website EuroNewsneither the start date nor the strike time has yet been defined;
  • Heathrow airport is one of the busiest in the world: 4.2 million passengers passed through there in March 2022, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic;
  • For comparison, Guarulhos airport, the busiest in Brazil, received 2.6 million passengers in April 2022, according to the GRU Airport concessionaire.

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