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Photo by Pascal Meier / Unsplash

European airports are facing another chaotic summer of delays and cancellations as passenger numbers recover to pre-pandemic levels and staff continue to negotiate on wages.

The overwhelming volume -- an estimated 33,000 flights per day over the next eight weeks -- means that airports and air traffic controllers have a challenging season ahead.

Passenger rights company AirHelp analyzed delays of more than 15 minutes and cancellations in June at Europe’s busiest airports.

AirHelp found the worst offender was London’s Gatwick, with 54% of its flights meeting the company’s criteria for disruption, while Finland’s Helsinki Airport had just over 18% of flights disrupted.

Spain has seen a surge in international tourism, with 8.2 million visitors in May -- 18% up from last year -- according to the country’s National Institute of Statistics.

In addition, Iberia Regional Air Nostrum pilots, who had been striking every Monday and Friday since Feb. 27, went on a daily indefinite strike from June 6 amid a pay dispute.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol, which handled 72 million passengers in 2019, experienced delays and cancellations for 36% of flights. Britain’s busiest hub, Heathrow, which took nearly 81 million passengers in 2019, had almost four in 10 flights affected.

At Birmingham Airport, the Unite union said that around 100 security officers and terminal technicians will begin continuous strike action from July 18.