Flight cancellations, staff shortages, threat of strike: chaos continues at European airports

Flight cancellations, staff shortages, threat of strike: chaos continues at European airports

More than 150 flights were canceled by airlines British Airways et easyJet yesterday departing from the airports of London where the lack of staff leads to queues – the latter being also called upon to vote on the principle of a strike by the end of the month. Amsterdam-Schipholor more than 225 departures have already been canceled in May by Air France-KLM, for its part, wants to reduce capacity by 30% over the next three months. TheIATA yet wants to believe that the situation can be controlled and even improved.

June 1, 2022 was similar to previous weeks at many European airports: British Airways canceled at least 124 short-haul flights to London Heathrow Airport (where queues were described as “fucking chaos”). the day before), while at Gatwick the low cost easyJet suppressed at least 31 domestic flights and to Spain, Italy or Poland among others. With always for main cause the lack of staff at the airport, especially in security: but the British national company has also been blamed for choosing to lay off 10,000 employees rather than lay off them during the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in difficulties in recruiting – while demand is at its highest especially in this week of school holidays and jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. British Airways has also announced that it wants to reduce its flight schedule by 10% by October to ensure “the resilience of its operations”.

Also in Gatwick, the same causes saw an Airbus A319 from the low cost Vueling to return to his base in Florence three hours late – but without a passenger, even though some had reached the boarding gate after four hours of packing. The flight was reportedly empty due to a lack of staff to handle the airline’s departures and because of the curfew in Peretola, according to local media.

London is obviously not the only city in the country affected by staff shortages: a Manchester for example, these are 200 flights of TUI Airways which were canceled between Tuesday and the end of the month, a decision taken after that also of the problems of managing the influx of passengers due to the lack of staff. Six flights a day are canceled until June 30, including to destinations such as the Canary Islands in Spain.

British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has seized on the case, accusing Sky News of ” lack of preparation Before the holiday wave: ” throughout the pandemic, the government provided them with £ 8 billion in support, and there were regulatory adjustments to make it easier for the airline industry to hire. I think there was clearly a lack of preparation for this growing demand from holidaymakers ».

© Stuart Bailey / British Airways

Unfortunately, things are getting worse London-Heathrow : the union Unite to call on the approximately 500 British Airways “and other employees” on the ground to register by June 27 on the principle of a strike, for salary reasons. The union blames the airline for erasing the pay cuts decided during the health crisis ” for leaders but not for our members ». The airline said it was ” extremely disappointed. After two deeply difficult years that saw the airline lose more than four billion pounds, these colleagues were offered a 10% bonus for this year, which was rejected. Other parts of the organization accepted the same offer, acknowledging the position the company is still in ».

The situation is similar to Amsterdam-Schipholwhere the group Air France-KLM had to cancel more than 225 flights last month due to staff shortages and work stoppages. And it’s not going to work out for those who want / need to fly: the airport manager has unveiled a plan to reduce capacity by 30% from June 1 to August 28, including through temporary measures on flight slots (unused slots will not be reallocated even temporarily) or diversions to other platforms. And as a last resort, a limited but mandatory reduction in scheduled flights. Additional staffing, “improved planning, and more recruiting” are also on the agenda, the airport said – which has been threatened with lawsuits by the local travel agency union ANVR).

The boss of theIATA Willie Walsh, however, called for calm, although similar situations are seen from Dublin to Toronto via Stockholm. « I think it is necessary relativize : There are problems at some airports, not globally ”He said, though another issue is becoming critical in the US – the lack of pilots. For the leader, this reflects the very significant increase in post-pandemic activity, ” and the fact that we come from a very low base. While airlines and airports are trying to rebuild, this is a challenge for some of them… It will be remedied ». “Uncertain” demand for the upcoming winter season has already been raised by a few airlines due to inflation and rising oil prices, but Willie Walsh wants to believe it won’t have a long-term effect. In other words, the airlines “have already operated with a barrel for more than $ 100,” he said.

But IATA has also proposed reforms to address the current shortage of groundhandling staff, as recruitment of new employees has been slowed by delays resulting from the lengthy security clearance procedure. The industry should adopt “a stronger acquisition strategy, streamline integration processes and develop a more compelling retention proposal.” For example, through an awareness-raising campaign to “emphasize the attractiveness and importance of ground operations in global logistics and transportation operations,” by addressing gender imbalances in industry or by launching partnerships. with trade schools “to energize candidates’ pools”.

IATA also suggested that the current six-month timetable for security training and clearance “should be accelerated” by placing more emphasis on online training and assessment, as well as mutual recognition by security. safety training and employee background records. The standardization of ground operations “via the IATA Ground Operations Manual” would also promote flexibility in terms of relocation, redeployment and recruitment. In addition, the adoption of new technologies and automated processes “should create diversified employment opportunities and career paths that will attract a new generation of talent.”

« An industry-wide approach to laying the groundwork for more effective talent recruitment, integration and retention will bring great benefits in terms of efficiency for all involved. The potential is to get the job done in the industry of having a job to develop a career Said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Security and Safety.

Flight cancellations, staff shortages, strike threat: chaos continues at European airports 2 Air Journal

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