European airport congestion at the gates of a record summer


Adding to the problems at passport controls are the strikes and staff shortages of some airlines that have laid off many workers during the pandemic

A “complicated” summer is presented at European airports. The CEO of IAG, Luis Gallego, already announced this during the shareholders’ meeting last week. There’s more to come this week on the situation at key airports, where staff shortages on many airlines have left baggage claim, check-in points overloaded and hundreds of flights cancelled.

And all this on the eve of a summer that promises to be like the one before the pandemic with professions not seen since 2019 thanks to the end of mobility restrictions. But several major airlines have no choice but to cancel flights due to a lack of staff due to the avalanche of layoffs that have occurred during covid, reducing their capacity to operate.

This is a problem that does not arise in Spain, where, thanks to the ERTE, the staff were not made redundant, but “they were adapted to the needs”, sources of the Association of Air Lines (ALA) explain to this newspaper. why they believe that the situation of European and Spanish airports is “very different”.

The representative aviation association explains that the problem is rather localized in the UK (particularly at London Gatwick airport) because although they had a mechanism similar to the ERTE, it only lasted until September 2021 and at that time a lot of staff were hired. fired., which is now difficult to recover. “Brexit makes it difficult to take on European staff because they have to ask for more documentation and accreditation, and the arrival of new employees also takes time to train them,” they explain from ALA.

But although it is not a Spanish problem, passengers on their way to our country do have to deal with cancellations and congestion. British Airways has had to cancel 10% of its flights in London alone until October. In Amsterdam there is also congestion at Schiphol due to lack of staff and in Frankfurt there is also the problem of strikes.

In Spain, the problem highlighted by the airlines is the lack of sufficient police officers at passport controls for passengers arriving from countries outside the EU, such as the United Kingdom. Faced with the avalanche of tourists with the end of restrictions, these checks are sometimes overrun with passengers having to queue for more than 45 minutes, causing more than 15,000 people to miss their connecting flight since March 1, Iberia assured a few weeks ago. .

The Interior Ministry’s response was to announce the arrival of an additional 500 police officers at the passport controls of 12 airports, though they pointed out that this was not prompted by the congestion situation, which they termed “very punctual”. They assure Iberia that Spanish airports are already working much better and that they should be given “a little margin” for the police reinforcements in the checks that started this week. Still, they acknowledge that summer will be “very complicated” at airports around the world, which will hit Spain as many of our tourists come from London, Germany and Amsterdam.

Source: La Verdad


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