BRIT holidaymakers have been warned of summer chaos ahead with travel across Europe expected to be "challenging".
Last summer already saw huge airport delays, cancelled flights and lost luggage as travellers headed abroad post-Covid.
This year, traffic control expected to become overloaded at many key locations, according to Eurocontrol, the air traffic management body for Europe.
They issued the warning as the peak summer season began, with about 33,000 daily flights expected across Europe from July to mid-August.
The figure represents about a 7 per cent increase compared to last year's numbers.
However, due to the soaring demand from holidaymakers after years of closed borders, more delays are to be expected.
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Brits are expected to make more than 25 million overseas trips between now and September, mostly by air.
Eurocontrol said it would experience “high overloads” of traffic on most days in many important regions, including Reims and Marseilles in France, Athens and Budapest.
“Overloads” can result in delays and aircraft being forced to fly longer routes to avoid constricted areas.
It issued similar warnings for toursit hotspots London, Barcelona, Brussels, Nicosia, Warsaw and Zagreb on peak days such as weekends.
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While European air traffic on Fridays in the next eight weeks will likely exceed 34,000 flights.
Raúl Medina, Eurocontrol’s director-general, said: “This summer in Europe is challenging as we have less available airspace because of the war in Ukraine and the military needs . . . We need everyone to play their part.
"Airports need to be well staffed, it is vital [air traffic services] provide enough capacity and airlines stick to their schedules.”
Medina says that increased military activity in Europe has reduced the amount of airspace available by up to 20 per cent, meaning that some parts of the region are handling much more traffic because of rerouted flights.
“Recent industrial action caused many delays,” he said.
“We can manage situations like that in quieter periods but if it happens in the middle of summer it will be much more challenging.”
Aviation bosses, including Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, have said that a series of strikes by controllers in France remains one of the biggest threats to summer air travel.
Short-haul flights leaving the UK and Spain are badly affected by French strikes because officials in France protect domestic departures and long-haul flights “overflying” the airspace.
The result is mass cancellations of short-haul flights “overflying”, using French airspace but not landing in the country.
There were delays in Calais for ferry travellers on Sunday despite the chaos currently engulfing France.
The operator DFDS said that coach passengers had waited two hours to be processed.
While those with cars faced delays of 45 minutes for passport checks.
The EU previously delayed a huge new system for travellers, which is expected to cause chaos at the borders.
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The new entry/exit system (EES) will replace the stamping of passports when entering and leaving countries within the EU.
It was originally due to start from the end of 2022 – this was pushed back to May 2023 before being delayed again until the end of 2023.
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