Austrian Airlines cancelled almost 100 out of 700 planned flights to and from Vienna over the weekend after a large number of employees called in sick with Covid-19, ORF reported.
On Monday, 19 flights also had to be cancelled.
The airliner said that it has already hired 150 flight attendants to assist with the high summer months demand. It said that thunderstorms and an air traffic control strike in Marseille, France, also affected the weekend operations.
Austrian Airlines added that efforts are being made to prevent the cancellation of classic holiday flights. The affected flights are mainly local or to destinations in Europe such as Berlin, Stuttgart, Zurich, Barcelona, or Sofia.
A press spokeswoman for Austrian Airlines told the Ö1 programme that passengers would be informed immediately if their flight changed and rebooked on other flights if possible.
Nevertheless, AUA recommends its passengers check the flight status online at Austrian.com before driving to the airport.
Vienna airport reassures travellers
Austrian Airlines and the Vienna airport had reassured travellers that they were prepared for the summer, as The Local reported.
The spokesperson for the Vienna International Airport has told Austrian media that there were no issues with staff shortages. They currently have about 80 percent of personnel from before the pandemic – while passenger levels are at about 65 to 70 percent of those from 2019.
Vienna Schwechat Airport says there were no staff cuts during the pandemic, though some workers quit and others retired.
Also, Austrian Airlines said it has hired 150 new cabin staff for the spring and summer seasons and is “ready for take-off into a summer in full operation”.
Still, both companies had alerted that problems could still arise. For example, issues with other airports were mentioned as possible causes for delays and cancellations.
“In Vienna, our partners and we succeeded, particularly through the instrument of short-time work, to keep as many personnel as to possible in employment. But, unfortunately, this is not the case at many other airports we also serve,” explained Austria Airlines spokeswoman Sophie Matkovits.
Covid numbers rising
Another issue is the rising Covid-19 numbers in Austria. According to the Health Ministry, a person who tests positive for Covi-19 needs to go into self-isolation for at least five days.
Contact cases also need to quarantine if they are suspected of being infected meaning they cannot work and many parents of children who contact Covid can also not work due to having to stay at home and look after their children.
On Sunday, Austria reported 7,093 new coronavirus infections after 80,771 PCR tests, according to the Health Ministry. There were 686 people in hospitals with Covid-19 and 46 were in intensive care units.