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Holidays: Why you will have to arrive early at the airport this summer

HOLIDAYS – More than ever, you will have to respect the arrival times at the airport if you fly this summer. With the sharp increase in the number of travelers due to the post-Covid recovery and the lack of staff in the airline sector, delays in queues are likely to explode for the holidays.

This is what happened on Monday May 9 in Birmingham, where the queues stretched for several hundred meters, going to the outside of the airport. That day, of the 7,500 travelers, 23 missed their plane, the management said, as quoted by the BBC. Same day, same problem in Manchester. On social networks, passengers expressed their exasperation and one of them even promised never to fly again in this city in the north-west of England.

“The queue for security at Manchester Airport now stretches outside the terminal building. As a regular airport user, I could describe my experiences lately, but I generally refrain from swearing on Twitter.”

“I will never use Manchester Airport again. Absolutely appalling experience […].

Traffic jams are not only seen in the UK. On the first weekend of May, KLM canceled 70 flights to and from Amsterdam-Schiphol due to overcrowding, as well as a lack of baggage handlers and security guards. Result, described The world, the firefighters had to intervene to distribute water to the patient travelers. A little earlier, around Easter, Lufthansa also had to cancel a hundred flights at Frankfurt airport… There have been many examples since the beginning of the year.

Airports will be short of staff this summer

The situation is not likely to improve for the summer holidays. Eurocontrol, the European air traffic monitoring body, calculated a number of flights equivalent to 83% of the 2019 level during the week of April 21 to 27. This figure could rise to 95% in August, according to its forecasts.

“The immediate challenge is to manage the sudden increase in traffic, given that the pandemic has had the effect of enormously reducing the resources of airports and ground handling”, acknowledged in a press release published Olivier Jankovec, the Managing Director of ACI Europe, the main association of European airports. To meet the new post-Covid demand, we must therefore recruit.

This is where the problem lies. Olivier Jankovec explains that the “European labor market” is “extremely tense” at the moment. “The fact that security and ground guards have remained at the bottom of the salary scale and that you have to work every day of the week in these trades is clearly a handicap in attracting labour”, he points out. Added to this is the training period of around 16 weeks, which makes it impossible for staff to arrive by the summer break.

Passengers will need to be patient

The most sought-after professions are “the positions that are called in the jargon ‘filtering inspection’, that is to say all the controls [de sécurité] which are carried out, which passengers know well before joining the boarding lounges”, detailed on Europe 1 Monday, May 9 Thomas Juan, president of the Union of French airports. “These are jobs in shift hours at work on weekends, but which are essential for the whole airport organization.”

It is this workforce that is sorely lacking in Paris airports. Orly and Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle need 4,000 people for filtering positions, said the CEO of Groupe ADP on BFM Business. Augustin de Romanet assured that he had “enormous” difficulties in recruiting, while traffic increased by 211.8% in the first quarter of 2022 at these two airports. They welcomed 14.6 million passengers over this period against 4.7 million a year earlier.

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Travelers will therefore have to “be patient” this summer because “there will be additional waits at controls and elsewhere”, warned Thomas Juan interviewed on Franceinfo this Tuesday, May 10. He warns that it will be necessary “to look carefully at the deadlines for presentation at check-in which are indicated by the airlines. We will adjust this with the companies. If the situation gets tense, the passengers must respect the instructions”.

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