Explained: Europe’s summer travel chaos | News Explained – The Indian Express | Gmx Pharm

Strikes and staff shortages are forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights and causing hour-long queues at major airports, dashed hopes for a sizzling first summer after widespread COVID-related lockdowns.

Here is a summary of some of the key developments:

labor unrest

After sweeping job cuts and wage cuts as COVID-19 halted travel, employees across the industry, from pilots to baggage handlers, are demanding significant pay rises and better working conditions.

Among other things, Norwegian Air agreed a 3.7% pay rise for pilots in June in a sign of what other airlines may have to offer to avoid industrial disputes.

Scandinavian airline SAS and Ireland’s Ryanair agreed deals with some unions representing their pilots in July, while British Airways and KLM signed pay deals with ground staff as strikes affected hundreds of thousands of travelers during the crucial holiday season.

➡️ Lufthansa

The pilots of the German flagship voted on July 31 for a labor dispute. Marcel Groels, board member of the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots’ union, said the vote does not necessarily mean a strike and that negotiations are open. VC is asking for a 5.5% pay rise for its pilots this year and automatic inflation compensation thereafter.

As early as July 27, Lufthansa was rocked by a strike by its ground staff, forcing it to cancel more than 1,000 flights. The Verdi union is demanding a wage increase of 9.5% for around 20,000 employees and is warning of further industrial action.

➡️ Ryanair

Members of Ryanair’s Spanish cabin crew union plan to strike four days a week until January to push for higher wages and better working conditions, the USO union said on July 27. The strike action, which is also supported by Sitclpa, takes place Monday to Thursday every week from August 8th to January 7th.

Ryanair employees also caused disruption at many Spanish airports in July when they were absent for several days, mostly over the weekend.

➡️ Easyjet

Easyjet’s Spain-based pilots said on July 29 they would go on strike for nine days in August. The pilots will strike from bases in Barcelona, ​​​​Malaga and Palma in Mallorca. Meanwhile, Easyjet’s Spain-based cabin crew has suspended its planned July 29-31 strike after reaching an agreement with the company. Workers went on strike earlier in July, first from July 1-3 and again from July 15-17, causing some flight cancellations and delays at the low-cost airline

➡️ SAS pilots ended their 15-day strike on July 19 that had grounded 3,700 flights, affected 380,000 passengers and put the airline’s future in jeopardy.

Reduced summer timetables

Airlines including Lufthansa, British Airways, easyJet, KLM and Wizz Air have canceled thousands of flights from their summer schedules to deal with the disruptions, while major airports have also taken action to limit traffic.

London’s Heathrow Airport on July 12 told airlines to stop selling tickets for summer departures after limiting the number of passengers traveling through it to 100,000 per day in a bid to limit queues, baggage delays and cancellations.

Hiring frenzy and incentives

Airports and airlines are scrambling to hire more staff, from pilots to security and border control staff to baggage handlers, after many left during the COVID-19 crisis.

Industry leaders say it’s difficult to recruit for often physically demanding, relatively low-paying work at airports, which are often out of town. It also takes months to train new employees and get them security cleared to work at airports.

➡️ Schiphol agreed to pay 15,000 cleaners, baggage handlers and security guards an extra 5.25 euros ($5.50) per hour over the summer.

One of Europe’s busiest airports needs to hire 500 security guards. It currently has 58,000 employees in and around the airport, down 10,000 from before the pandemic.

➡️ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris need to fill 4,000 jobs mainly in security, maintenance and travel retail, according to airport operator Groupe ADP and the CDG Alliance.

More than 20,000 people have been laid off at Charles de Gaulle during the pandemic, according to the CGT union.

Airport security firm ICTS, which operates in Charles de Gaulle, is offering a one-time bonus of €180 for those who postpone their vacation until after September 15 and €150 for employees hiring new staff, according to a representative of the CGT union .

➡️ Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s busiest hub, has reinstated nearly 1,000 ground staff after shedding about 4,000 during the pandemic, but will continue to face disruptions over the next two or three months due to labor shortages, its operator Fraport said.

Germany plans to speed up work permits and visas for several thousand foreign airport workers, mostly from Turkey, to ease travel chaos.

According to the airport association ADV, around every fifth job in the areas of security, check-in and aircraft handling at German airports is vacant. ($1 = 0.9933 euros)

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