The chaos seen at UK airports in recent weeks could continue for a year, experts warn.
Tight queues, misplaced bags and delays have impacted the travel plans of thousands of holidaymakers in recent days, with some even missing flights due to hours of waiting at security.
Much like Dublin Airport that awaits around 500,000 passengers In the next few days, the problems are due to staff shortages, as the demand for travel increases as a result Covid entry restrictions are relaxed in countries around the world.
Recruitment and training of airport staff takes time, particularly for Border Force posts which are recruited separately by the UK Home Office.
Kully Sandhu, the chief executive of Aviation Recruitment Network Limited, which recruits for Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports, told BBC Radio 4 today Program that he has more than 300 vacancies.
“In my personal opinion, it will take at least the next 12 months for job vacancies in the industry to settle down,” he said.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, currently has 91 vacancies on the careers site.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Immigration Services Union (ISU) said that “for the first time in living memory” Border Force is no longer attracting enough candidates to fill vacancies.
ISU Secretary General Lucy Moreton said: “Combined with the fact that it takes almost a year to fully train a Border Force officer, which is not only catastrophically understaffed this summer, this weekend, with people starting to travel again, and of course those who went out earlier this week will be back in the middle of next week after the school holidays are over… we expect queues to shift from security based queues going out to border force queues, who come back in.
She stressed that there is no skimping on recruiting and training Border Force personnel: “This is a law enforcement job — you don’t expect your officer to be undertrained or under-security cleared. And certainly we wouldn’t want anything else for Border Force.”
It comes ahead of the Easter long weekend, when passenger numbers are expected to rise to 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
Dublin Airport, where passengers have been queuing outside Terminal 1 at peak times in recent days, is asking passengers to arrive “no more than” 3.5 hours before their flight and says on Saturday it is “currently in all our car parks.” is sold out”. April 16.
British airlines have also been hit by staff sickness and delays in hiring staff, with easyJet and British Airways having canceled hundreds of flights over the Easter holidays.
EasyJet’s CEO said delays in conducting security checks for new flight crews were among the factors driving up the number of flight cancellations, along with the need to suspend scheduled flights at the last minute due to staff illness.
“We’ve had up to 20 percent absenteeism in some cases and you would never expect an airline to be able to cover that,” said Johan Lundgren.
When asked how long the disruption could last, he was unable to give a definitive answer, saying: “You would expect the spike that we are seeing in Covid infections to really exist here in the UK and also in the UK [other] Parts of the network will collapse, but that’s something we’re not seeing yet.”
Meanwhile, Aer Lingus and Ryanair flight schedules do not appear to be noticeably affected by the Covid absences.
“While we recognize that the industry as a whole is currently facing operational challenges due to Covid-19, Aer Lingus is not experiencing any significant issues of this nature at this time,” the airline said Independent.ie.
“We have built additional layers of operational resilience into our resource endowment to meet the ongoing challenges and continue to work toward our goal of achieving 90 percent of pre-pandemic flying by midsummer,” it added.
Ryanair was contacted for comment but did not provide any.
– Additional reporting by Pól Ó Conghaile
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/think-dublin-airport-is-bad-uk-airport-chaos-could-remain-for-at-least-the-next-12-months-41549379.html Think Dublin Airport is bad? UK airport chaos could last for ‘at least the next 12 months’