Big Interview: Gains to be had from flight disruption and traveller compensation data

Big Interview: Gains to be had from flight disruption and traveller compensation data

With millions of flight disruptions across Europe and the UK every year, AirHelp’s CEO Tomasz Pawliszyn spoke to Travolution on how we can equip ourselves with better insight and mechanisms to tackle it head on

Flight data from the UK and Europe for the first half of 2023 is now in. At the helm of it, claims management company AirHelp, advocates for analysis of flight disruption to better predict causality.

Tomasz Pawliszyn, CEO of AirHelp shared the number of passengers disrupted and those entitled to compensation with Travolution.

The German-based company found that 54 million passengers travelled between January and June in the UK with 17 million (31%) of them disrupted, of which 1.1 million are entitled to compensation.

It’s a similar story in Europe, with 343 million passengers travelled between January and June and 94 million (29%) disrupted. 8.5 million of those passengers are entitled to compensation.

AirHelp believe the data could prove to be instrumental to companies, airlines and airports in improving their planning. 

Pawliszyn said: “All stakeholders need to take this data into consideration, analysing the data to identify patterns and trends in flight disruptions.

“This will help them address the most common causes of disruptions, such as adverse weather conditions or technical issues.

“They should also prioritise customer-centricity. Companies, airlines, and airports should invest in enhancing their customer service offerings, ensuring transparent communication, and providing swift compensation processes.

“By prioritising the passenger experience, the industry would aim to rebuild trust and loyalty, ultimately improving customer satisfaction.

He added: “Additionally, transparency throughout the disruption management process will help regain customer trust and loyalty in the longer term.

When probed on what is behind the disruption Pawliszyn believes it’s two-fold, an aftermath of post-covid 19 “chaos” and the rising strikes in Europe.

He said: “The aviation industry is still grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The data suggests that operational adjustments, staff shortages and insufficient planning have played a significant role in the number of disruptions across the UK and Europe.

“As airlines and airports navigate the recovery phase, it is crucial for them to address these growing pains through proactive and reasonable planning and resource management.”

However, while “post-COVID growing pains have contributed to disruptions”, the role of external factors such as strikes “cannot be ignored”.

“Labour disputes and industrial actions by various stakeholders (most notably ATC, security staff, but also airline employees) have resulted in a substantial number of disruptions.

“Companies, airlines, and airports should engage in constructive dialogue with their workforce to mitigate the risk of strikes and maintain smooth operations.”

Pawliszyn fears that disruption will continue as the aviation industry continues to adapt and recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“I am afraid that this summer will be at least as disrupted as it was a year ago. I would, however, like to see a gradual stabilisation in the second half of 2023.”

He predicts we’ll eventually see a better experience for travellers as he’s hopeful airlines and airports will implement “more resilient operational frameworks”.

In turn this will ensure a “higher level of preparedness to handle potential disruptions.”

“This would result in a more efficient and reliable travel experience for passengers,” he said.