June 30 (Reuters) - Shares of Air Canada closed down
6% on Thursday after the carrier trimmed its domestic flight
schedule this summer, as North American airlines wrestle with
labor shortages, delays and cancellations as travel rebounds.
Canada's largest carrier said late on Wednesday it would cut
its schedule to reduce passenger flows to manageable levels,
while Delta Air Lines' chief executive on Thursday
apologized for flight cancellations that have disrupted travel
Persistent staffing shortages, fewer flights and booming
demand following a pandemic-induced slump have cast a shadow
ahead of the busy U.S. July Fourth holiday weekend.
Airports in Canada and Europe are also wrestling with
missing luggage as passengers shared pictures of luggage
stranded beside baggage belts on social media.
Analysts and some industry executives don't see a meaningful
improvement in conditions before fall, when travel demand tends
to slow down.
"With the changes started yesterday we are reducing our
schedule, on average, by 77 round trips (or 154 flights) per day
in total for July and August. Prior to this, Air Canada operated
on average about 1,000 flights a day," the airline said.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which manages
Pearson International Airport, praised Air Canada's decision to
scale back flights.
"In making this announcement, Air Canada is following the
example of other major airlines worldwide, who have also
recognized the need to adjust schedules," the GTAA said.
Shares of American Airlines Group Inc, United
Airlines Holdings Inc and Delta were down between 1% and
3%, amid a fall in broader U.S. markets on worries that the U.S.
Federal Reserve's determination to tame inflation would hamper
global economic growth.
On Monday airlines canceled over 700 flights in the United
States, after adverse weather conditions and staffing shortages
Air Canada's smaller privately held rival, WestJet Airlines,
said it already planned to operate 25% fewer flights than in the
summer of 2019.
(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru and Allison Lampert in
Montreal; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Jonathan Oatis)