Summer Flights CANCELLED – Who’s the CULPRIT?

Industry watchers are warning prospective vacationers to expect greater-than-normal flight cancellations this summer. One of the reasons?

The airlines don’t have enough planes.

A series of incidents involving Boeing aircraft—most famously the January incident aboard an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 where a door blew out mid-flight—have led to a broad-scale grounding of the aircraft model for re-inspection and repair.

Boeing’s planes aren’t the only ones showing signs of quality control failure. Pratty & Whitney, which manufactures engines for Airbus airplanes, has uncovered reasons for safety concerns affecting over six hundred planes and has issued a recall on those planes’ engines.

This development led Martha Neubaur, an AeroDynamic Advisory senior associate, to warn earlier this year that airlines could take delivery of up to 19 percent fewer aircraft than they had been expecting this year.

The airlines, hoping to bulk up their fleets so they can meet as much of their customer demand as possible, have started leasing aircraft out of desperation. But even on the leasing market, demand outstrips supply as so many airlines seek to find and secure any available aircraft that might be suitable for their needs.

Avia Solutions, the largest aircraft leasing operation in the world, has warned that the supply/demand imbalance on the aircraft market will eventually result in summertime flight cancellations as airlines are forced to reduce their schedules to something they can fulfill. Gedimina Zemelis, Avia’s chairman told the Daily Telegraph that he can only describe the situation as one of “super demand.” The only other time he’s seen these kinds of market dynamics were when the skies were re-opened after 9/11, when pent-up consumer demand led to massive competition for seats on flights.

Production problems, he said, have made the airlines desperate for aircraft. Unfortunately, the well has run so dry that of the 250 aircraft that Avia leases in the European market, only eight are currently available. The supply crunch will likely continue until the production problems are solved.