European airport labor dispute, staff shortage disrupts summer travel


Due to labor disputes and staff shortages, European airports are seeking to find more workers, minimize canceled flights and reduce headaches for travelers during the busy summer season.

Workers at Charles de Gaulle Airport in France went on strike on Thursday and a quarter of the flights were cancelled. In Italy, the crew of low-cost carriers Ryanair, easyJet and Volotea quit their jobs on Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening, German flag carrier Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings announced that they would drop more than 1,000 flights in July, or more than 5% of their weekend capacity, due to staff shortages during busy holidays. did.

Ryanair’s cabin crew may strike in Europe this summer after negotiations with the two Spanish unions have ended, according to a statement from the SIT CPLA and USO unions.

Airport managers are struggling to quickly hire and process new hires, as the rebound of air travel from a slump caused by a pandemic leads to flight cancellations and hours of routes.

Airlines hit by sluggish travel during the pandemic have been expecting a strong summer as fares rise to offset rising fuel costs. Some countries are also funding tourism to revive the devastated economy.

The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airline industry group, said that the security badges needed for newly hired staff, which were heavily congested before the pandemic and are now confined to specific airports. It states that it is getting worse because of the delay in acquisition.

At the busiest airports in North America, some staff who have not yet obtained a badge can temporarily work under the supervision of scrutinized employees, said Tori Gass, a spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Area. I am saying.

According to Gus, the Temporary Pass was recently introduced at Toronto Pearson International Airport in response to a large number of reservations for restricted area ID cards (RAICs). It takes about 45 days to get the card.

The Ministry of Transport stated that it received 13,722 applications nationwide for the clearance required for employees such as airport lamp agents and baggage handlers in the first quarter of 2022, from 5,968 requests during the same period in 2021. rice field.

Pearson is working on an hour-long security line with planes clogged at the gate due to lack of staff.

Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Argabra said Wednesday that he would work with partners to bring in more screening officers.

“We are acting,” Argabra told reporters.

In Europe, Dublin and Heathrow airports are looking for screeners, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is raising staff wages.

Spain announced on Tuesday that it would hire 500 additional police officers for passport management in tourist destinations, including busy airports and Madrid.

In the United States, airports generally avoid such heavy congestion. Still, the shortage of staff has forced airlines to cancel flights and adjust their summer schedules.

Last month, the Alaska Air Group was forced to cancel 4% of its flights due to staffing issues. Delta Air Lines, which canceled about 700 flights on Memorial Day’s four-day vacation, plans to reduce flights by August.

The Spanish Interior Minister attributed the reports of congestion at border control to multiple flights arriving at the same time. However, CEHAT, the country’s largest business group for hotels and accommodation, said it was able to prevent delays because it was related to Brexit’s termination of a free trip to Spain by British citizens.

“This situation couldn’t have surprised us,” CEHAT President Juan Marichal said in a statement Wednesday.

Alison Becker and Inti Randauro

Reuters

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