An aviation expert has warned travel chaos “pain” could continue into next year as the industry struggles to meet soaring demand after stripping services during the pandemic.
Flight Center managing director Graham Turner cautioned travelers to be wary of delays and cancellations until at least the end of the year as airlines contend with inexperienced and ill staff.
“Bear in mind the aviation industry, and you know travel industry generally, has two-and-a-half years when we had to absolutely cut to the bone everything and now building that back up is quite difficult,” he said on Channel 9’s Today show.
Mr Turner admitted the aviation industry was experiencing a “tough period” and asked travelers to exercise “a bit of patience”.
The travel boss noted the chaos was more manageable for domestic travelers despite the mass cancellations and delays.
On Monday, 40 flights between Sydney and Melbourne were canceled and hundreds of people were left sitting on plans after a computer outage grounded Qantas plans.
“Domestically, our experience is although there are delays, a lot of changes, quite a few cancellations, generally most people are getting away and getting to their destination,” he said.
“It is a bit harder internationally because if you get international cancellations it can be quite hard to get seats.”
Mr Turner said there would continue to be “pain” for travelers for at least the next couple of months as the industry grapples with staffing issues and the effects of the ongoing pandemic.
Happily, he predicts, traveling around Australia will be much easier by the end of the year when “all of this really settles down”.
“Domestically, it will improve and we certainly predict by October/November, assuming the Omicron does settle down, it will be much better off,” he said.
While the news will surely be welcomed by local travellers, those looking to travel internationally have no reassuring timeline for when the dust will settle.
The bleak news comes as Australia’s airports gain international attention for all the wrong reasons.
Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport was recently ranked one of the 10 worst airports in the world for flight delays.
Meanwhile, social media has been flooded with angry travelers reporting lost baggage, delayed or canceled flights and staggering queues.