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Air travel is roaring back, but not without some significant hiccups.

Particularly in North America and Europe, travelers have described chaos at airports, with multiple flights canceled or delayed, baggage lost and wait times to board the plane of more than four hours. This is partly the result of labor shortages from the pandemic, as layoffs have put pressure on airports and airlines facing a surge of summer travelers eager to travel.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce talks to CNBC’s Dan Murphy about the sector’s recovery, saying that after nearly two years of dramatically reduced activity, it’s going to take some time to get the system up and running again .

“The whole industry is experiencing it everywhere, and we’re seeing it in Australia,” Joyce said at the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 78th Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar on Sunday.

“It’s not as bad as what you’re seeing in the Europe or North American market,” the CEO said. “We’ve seen long queues at airports during Easter; not like you’ve seen in London, Manchester and Dublin and other places in Europe.”

“And I think it takes some time. The system is bad, everything was closed for two years,” he said. “It’s going to take some time to get that system humming again. It’s a hugely complex business, there’s a lot of moving parts involved.”

IATA Director-General Willie Walsh said in a separate interview from Doha that airport chaos and delays are “isolated” and not every airport is experiencing problems.

Still, he said the airline industry is not yet “out of the woods” when it comes to recovery.

Walsh said, “Yes we want to do better, and yes we will do better. But I urge consumers to see the opportunity on the fly to reflect on the fact that this isn’t happening everywhere.” “And by and large, flights are operating on time without any disruptions, at the airport in most cases, and I look forward to enjoying the flight experience again for you.”

The comments came as thousands more flights were canceled in the US over the weekend and the prior Friday, according to the Transportation Security Administration, the busiest air travel day for the country so far this year. As of Friday afternoon, the airlines had More than 1,000 flights canceled, after 1,700 cancellations already on ThursdayThe Associated Press reported.

something on saturday 6,300 flights to and from the US were delayed NBC News, citing flight tracking site FlightAware, reported that more than 800 were cancelled.

‘Demand is heavy’

Still, for Australia’s flagship carrier Qantas, the homecoming appears to be firing on all cylinders.

“This is really good – in Australia, in the domestic market, we are seeing a huge increase in demand, with over 120% holiday demand, corporate markets and SME markets back to 90% of pre-Covid levels , and so we have almost full capacity restored in the domestic market,” Joyce said.

International flight recovery is “a bit slow,” he said, at around 50% of pre-Covid levels. But he expects that by Christmas, international trade will be at 85% of pre-Covid levels and “by March next year we will reach 100%.”

“But the demand is massive,” he said. “We are seeing more demand internationally, in some cases, than we have seen before COVID, with less efficiencies, which is allowing us to recover fuel costs, increase yields.”



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