As an example of the term “thankless task” I will cite “pretty much any job at any airport”.
or for a more precise definition, try “airport boss”.
Karen Smart – chief executive of Manchester Airport – resigned this week. Her resignation comes after weeks of travel chaos at what is normally Britain’s third busiest airport (after Heathrow and Gatwick).
About a month ago, as Covid restrictions eased and the desire to travel increased, passengers using Manchester began reporting long queues at security – a complete contrast to my last trip from there on March 6, 2020, when I almost was the only passenger.
Two years later, the search process has occasionally become so slow that people either miss planes or find them delayed while pilots and cabin crew (plus passengers who got there six hours before departure) waited for the missing payload.
The Indo Daily: Terminal Turbulence – What you need to know about Dublin Airport delays and how to avoid the queues
The wrong passengers, some airport insiders complain: People who haven’t flown in two years seem to have forgotten the annoying 100ml rule and are showing up with jumbo bottles of shampoo and sunscreen.
Others fail to consult the arrival rules for their destination until they reach the airport, adding to the rush at check-in in slow motion.
Social media remains guilt-hungry – and Ms Smart has become Britain’s unlucky autumn girl.
But the chaos in aviation over the past two years, with one disjointed string of travel restrictions after another, has alternately made travel either illegal or incredibly complicated.
Many employees have been furloughed, laid off, or simply found more enjoyable jobs that don’t require grossly unsocial hours in high-stress environments.
It’s not just Britain. Germany’s largest airport operator, Fraport, has warned passengers of Easter delays, according to Reuters. Dublin Airport is also struggling with delays caused by security staff shortages, Covid-related absences and a quicker-than-expected return to travel, among other things.
British Airways and easyJet are currently witnessing aviation downsizing and downskilling at every manufacture around 70 flight cancellations per day.
But airlines are in a far stronger position than airports.
Carriers can move assets to maximize their earning potential. Airports have an annoying habit of staying still. They are at the dual mercy of airlines and the ever-fickle traveling public.
Airlines love to announce new routes. But they’re absolutely ruthless about exiting airports when a better opportunity — or at least a way to lose money more slowly — presents itself.
Just ask the bosses of beautiful Prestwick in south-west Scotland, which was for a while the nation’s budget airport but now only has a handful of daily flights if Ryanair is in the mood.
Or Southend, which by 2020 was on track to become Essex’s second success story (after Stansted) by offering an easy, friendly alternative to London’s other airports.
When aviation implodes, airlines retreat to their core countries. Manchester fared better than most but had lost 95 per cent of its passengers by March 2021.
Going from 100 percent to five percent of customers and back to 80 or 90 percent within two years would be a challenge for any boss in any industry.
I wish Karen Smart all the best in her next post and trust that the task will bring her well-deserved thanks.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/its-not-just-dublin-airport-suffering-from-delays-these-days-whod-run-an-airport-41525881.html It’s not just Dublin Airport that suffers delays – who runs an airport these days?