Air-travel disruption strikes Prague and rest of Europe as summer holidays begin

Several major airlines and airports have reported substantial delays and cancelations – here's what you need to know. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 30.06.2024 14:00:00 (updated on 30.06.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

On what is the busiest weekend of the year for air travel across Europe – and the busiest since Covid-19 – several airports, including Prague’s largest, have been hit by flight delays and cancellations due to problems with air-traffic control across the continent.

Flights to and from Turkey the worst affected

European airlines have delayed hundreds of flights due to air traffic control restrictions caused by severely hot weather on the continent. Václav Havel Airport in Prague has in the last 48 hours seen several arrivals and departures delayed. Turkish airspace is, according to Prague Airport communications director Eva Krejčí, the worst affected; flights to major cities such as Istanbul and Ankara are experiencing severe delays.

Several airlines report severe disruption

Low-cost carrier EasyJet, which operates tens of flights to and from Czechia’s main airport every week, has had almost 50 percent of its flights delayed this weekend so far. British Airways and Lufthansa, two other major European airlines that serve Prague Airport, have both seen over one-third of their total flights in Europe delayed.

Ryanair, which flies passengers from Pague Airport to destinations such as Barcelona, Zadar, Manchester, London, Riga, and Budapest, has reported that 35 percent of its flights are delayed. Angrily, the airline released a statement this weekend, saying: “It is unacceptable that one in every four of Ryanair’s first wave departures today [Saturday] were delayed due to air-traffic control staff shortages and equipment failures,” shifting blame from itself.


FlightStats is a handy application that tracks, and automatically notifies you of (if you subscribe to alerts), airline and/or airport delays. FlightAware is a website that does similar.

In addition, the airport is currently suffering from outages in Terminal 1’s passport control system, hampering the speed of passengers’ check-ins. 

According to FlightAware, an online and real-time information database that tracks airlines’ scheduled flights, airports in London, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Zurich, and Paris are facing a higher-than-usual number of delays.

Europe's least punctual airports and airlines

A look back at summer 2023 gives a good indication of which European airports and airlines may face the most delays in July, August, and September this year. Frankfurt Airport was the worst offender, with a whopping 53 percent of flights delayed, Euronews reports.

Amsterdam Schipol Airport in the Netherlands and Bucharest’s Henri Coandă International Airport were the next-worst offenders, both with 47 percent of all flights being delayed.

TIP: Passengers on EU flights with delayed/canceled flights can get up to:

  • EUR 250 for flights up to 1,500 kilometers.
  • EUR 400 for flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers.
  • EUR 600 for flights beyond 3,500 kilometers.

In terms of airlines, a study from data aggregator BestBrokers found that Italy’s Air Dolomiti was Europe’s least-dependable airline, with 44 percent of all flights delayed or canceled. Air Serbia and TAP Air Portugal were closely behind. 

The Spanish Iberia and Iberia Express airlines were the most punctual carriers in Europe in 2023. Malta International Airport was the most punctual airport in Europe in 2023.

tip: EU airlines are legally required to provide passengers with a meal and refreshments if there is:

  • A delay of two-plus hours for flights up to 1,500 kilometers.
  • A delay of over three hours for intra-EU flights between 1,500 and 3,000 kilometers.
  • A delay of four or more hours for all other flights.

Bob Thomas, assistant professor of aeronautical science at Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University, tells CNN Travel that passengers booking flights in the early morning or late at night face the lowest risk of potential disruption due to lower temperatures. 

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