The British warned of a “summer of flight cancellations” across Europe due to the holiday boom
BRITS traveling to European destinations on holiday this summer are being warned of major airport delays and flight cancellations
Industry chiefs say the huge surge in passenger numbers following the easing of coronavirus restrictions is having a massive impact on check-in, security and baggage collection times.
And they warn that the situation will persist due to staff shortages and not enough money to replace them.
As a result, vacationers would get a “degraded passenger experience” at many airports.
In a joint statement, Olivier Jankovec, Director General of Airports Council International (ACI EUROPE) and Fabio Gamba, Managing Director of Airport Services Association (ASA), said: “The figures speak for the need to catch up.
“Following the easing of travel restrictions by European countries in March, the recovery in passenger traffic has accelerated sharply and suddenly.
“While passenger traffic is still below pre-pandemic (2019) levels, it has also become much more concentrated during peak periods.
“Indeed, traffic peaks at many airports, and particularly at larger hubs, are at or above pre-pandemic levels.”
They continued: “Managing this sudden increase and concentration of air traffic has been a challenge for airports and their operating partners – particularly ground handlers.
“This has led to an increase in flight delays and cancellations and, in general, a degraded passenger experience at many airports, as key processes such as check-in, security and baggage claim are associated with longer waiting times
“While each airport is unique and the magnitude of these disruptions varies significantly, the primary reason has been the inability to scale up staffing to the required level to handle the surge in passenger traffic.”
The two organizations say the situation is caused by:
- Airports and ground handlers emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with exhausted resources, having been forced to lay off staff in these areas due to the collapse in air travel in 2020 and 2021.
- An extremely tight labor market across Europe, unsupported by low wages.
- Training and safety requirements that make it impossible to quickly adapt and deploy additional staff – as there are lead times of up to 16 weeks between hiring and actual deployment.
Most airports, particularly larger ones and hubs with more complex operations, expect the quality of the passenger experience to be “inevitably impacted by this summer’s staffing shortage,” the joint statement concluded.
A survey of airports found that 66 percent expect flight delays to increase and 16 percent expect flight cancellations to increase
ACI EUROPE and ASA say there is no “quick and easy fix” but are calling for faster security clearance for new employees and for airlines to adjust flight schedules.
Last month, thousands of passengers missed their flights in Spain due to chaos at airports – with calls for more staff after travelers had to wait in line for hours.
Airlines and airports are already being affected across the UK.
EasyJet will eliminate a number of seats on its flights to allow the airline to fly with fewer crews on board over the next few months.
And British Airways is due to cancel 16,000 flights, with 10 per cent of flights between March and autumn affected.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8767756/cancelled-flights-warning-europe-summer-holiday/ The British warned of a “summer of flight cancellations” across Europe due to the holiday boom