Labor conflicts at European airports and staff shortages hinder summer travel

June 9 (Reuters) – Labor disputes and staff shortages are forcing European airports to demand more workers, minimize canceled flights and reduce travel headaches during the busy summer season.

Workers at French Charles de Gaulle airport are on strike on Thursday demanding higher wages as a quarter of flights have been cancelled. In Italy, the crews of low-cost carriers Ryanair (RYA.I), easyJet (EZJ.L) and Volotea quit their jobs on Wednesday. read more

German flag carrier Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and its subsidiary Eurowings said Wednesday night that they had canceled more than 1,000 flights, or 5% of scheduled capacity for the weekend, in July due to staff shortages during a busy holiday period.

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Ryanair flight attendants may go on strike in Europe this summer after negotiations with two Spanish unions ended, unions SITCPLA and USO said in a statement.

Airport managers are scrambling to hire and process new employees quickly as the recovery in air travel from the pandemic-driven downturn results in flight cancellations and hours of queues.

Airlines hit by drastic flight cuts during the pandemic are looking forward to a strong summer as fares rise to offset higher fuel costs. Some countries are also banking on tourism to revive hard-hit economies.

The head of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) airline trade group said severe congestion also occurred before the pandemic and is now limited to some airports, exacerbated by delays in obtaining security passes needed for newly hired employees. read more

In North America, Canada’s busiest airport is allowing some employees who have not yet received their passes to work temporarily under the supervision of verified employees, said Tori Gass, a spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

A temporary pass was recently introduced at Toronto Pearson International Airport in response to a high number of appointments for a Restricted Identity Card (RAIC), Gass said. It takes approximately 45 days to receive the cards.

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

Transport Canada said it received 13,722 applications for permits needed for employees such as airport parking agents or movers in the first quarter of 2022, up from 5,968 requests in the same period in 2021.

Pearson is battling planes stuck at the gates and many hours of security checks due to lack of personnel.

Transport Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Algabra on Wednesday said he was working with partners to bring in more screening officers.

“We are acting,” Algabra told reporters.

In Europe, Dublin and Heathrow airports are recruiting security screeners, and Amsterdam’s Schipol airport is raising staff salaries. read more

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

In the United…


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