Labor disputes at European airports and staff shortages disrupt summer travel

June 9 (Reuters) – Labor disputes and staff shortages are pushing Europe’s airports to call for more workers, minimize canceled flights and reduce traveler headaches during the busy summer season.

Workers at Charles De Gaulle airport in France are on strike Thursday for more pay, with a quarter of flights cancelled. In Italy, the crews of low-cost carriers Ryanair (RYA.I), easyJet (EZJ.L) and Volotea went on strike on Wednesday. Read more

On Wednesday evening, Germany’s national flag carrier Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and its subsidiary Eurowings announced that they were cutting more than 1,000 flights in July, or 5% of their planned weekend capacity, due to a lack staff during the busy vacation period.

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Ryanair cabin crew could go on strike in Europe this summer after talks ended with two Spanish unions, according to a statement from unions SITCPLA and USO.

Airport managers are struggling to recruit and process new hires quickly as a rebound in air travel after a pandemic-driven crisis results in canceled flights and hour-long queues.

Airlines, battered by the drop in travel during the pandemic, are counting on a strong summer as fares rise to offset rising fuel costs. Some countries are also banking on tourism to revive hard-hit economies.

The head of the air trade group International Air Transport Association (IATA) said heavy congestion also occurred before the pandemic and is now limited to certain airports, compounded by delays in obtaining the security badges required for the newly hired staff. Read more

In North America, Canada’s busiest airport is allowing some staff who have not yet obtained their badges to work temporarily under the supervision of approved employees, said Tori Gass, spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

The temporary pass was recently introduced at Toronto Pearson International Airport in response to the large number of appointments for restricted area identity cards (RAICs), Gass said. It takes about 45 days to get the cards.

Passengers walk inside a duty-free shop at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy-en-France near Paris, France, December 2, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Transport Canada said it received 13,722 requests nationwide for clearances required for employees like airport ramp agents or baggage handlers in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 5,968 requests during the same period in 2021. .

Pearson is struggling with planes stuck at gates and security lines that go on for hours due to a lack of staff.

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Wednesday he was working with partners to bring in more screening officers.

“We are taking action,” Alghabra told reporters.

In Europe, Dublin and Heathrow airports are recruiting screening officers, while Amsterdam Schipol airport is increasing staff salaries. Read more

Spain announced on Tuesday the hiring of 500 additional police officers to provide passport control at busy airports and tourist destinations, including Madrid. Read more

In the United States, airports generally avoid these major congestions. Still, a staff shortage has forced airlines to cancel flights and cut summer schedules.

Last month, Alaska Air Group Inc (ALK.N) was forced to cancel 4% of its flights due to staffing issues. Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), which canceled about 700 flights during the four-day Memorial Day holiday, plans to cut flights through August.

Spain’s interior minister attributed the border control congestion reports to multiple flights arriving at the same time. But CEHAT, the country’s biggest trade group for hotels and accommodation, said the delays could have been avoided as they relate to the end of free travel for British citizens to Spain due to Brexit. .

“This situation should not have taken us by surprise,” CEHAT president Jorge Marichal said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Inti Landauro in Madrid. Additional reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio and David Evans

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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