FACTBOX-The chaos of summer travel in Europe | Company
Strikes and staff shortages are forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights and causing hour-long queues at major airports, dashing hopes of a scorching first summer after the COVID shutdowns.
Here is a summary of some of the developments: LABOR UNREST:
After job cuts and sweeping pay cuts when COVID-19 halted travel, staff across the industry, from pilots to baggage handlers, are demanding big pay rises and better working conditions . Earlier in June, Norwegian Air agreed to a 3.7% pay rise for pilots, among other benefits, as a sign of what other airlines may have to offer to avoid labor disputes.
**Charles de Gaulle, Paris Striking Paris airport workers said on Saturday they would stage another strike at the French capital’s main international hub from July 8-10 to pressure their demand for a raise net of 300 euros ($313.74) per month on wages.
Airport operator ADP had offered staff a 4% pay rise if they agreed to end the strike on Friday, but workers rejected the offer, a union representative told Reuters. **Heathrow
British Airways staff at London’s Heathrow Airport voted to strike after the airline failed to reverse a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic, with the strike likely taking place during the peak period of summer vacation. **Ryanair
Spain-based cabin crew at Ryanair plan to strike for a further 12 days this month, the USO and SICTPLA unions announced on Saturday. The Irish low-cost carrier said it expected “minimal” disruption to its flight schedules in July due to the strikes. Cabin crew will go on strike on July 12-15, 18-21 and 25-28 at the 10 Spanish airports where Ryanair operates.
**EasyJet’s Spain-based cabin crew at easyJet are planning to go on strike for nine days in July, demanding a 40% increase in their base pay, which is well below that of countries like France and Germany, local union USO said.
** Lufthansa A German union representing Lufthansa ground staff is demanding at least 350 euros more per month over 12 months to cushion the effects of soaring inflation, with the first round of negotiations due to take place on June 30.
The airline’s chief executive apologized to employees and customers for the travel chaos, admitting the company had “made mistakes” cutting costs to deal with pandemic-related losses. **SAS AB pay talks between the Scandinavian airline and its pilots collapsed on Monday, triggering a strike that will cripple much of the beleaguered carrier’s operations. Nearly 1,000 pilots in Denmark, Sweden and Norway will join the strike, which is expected to lead to the cancellation of around 50% of scheduled flights.
REDUCED SUMMER HOURS: Last week, Lufthansa’s Swiss operations reduced flights by around 2% between August and October due to labor shortages, strikes and growing COVID-19 infections , while Belgian media reported on Monday that the German carrier’s Belgian unit would cancel nearly 700 flights over the summer holiday period, about 6% of its scheduled flights.
They became the latest examples of airlines cutting capacity, including thousands of cancellations by Lufthansa and easyJet. Airports, including Gatwick and Schiphol, are also limiting the volume of passengers they will handle over the summer.
Britain’s transport minister said on Thursday it was up to airlines to avoid a repeat of recent chaotic scenes at airports, calling on them to run “realistic” summer timetables. RECRUITMENT FREQUENCY AND INCENTIVES:
Airports and airlines are scrambling to hire more workers, from pilots to security and border control staff and baggage handlers after many left during the COVID-19 crisis. Industry executives say it’s difficult to recruit for often physically demanding and relatively low-paying jobs at airports that are often out of town. Training staff and getting them security cleared to work at airports also takes months.
**Schiphol has agreed to pay 15,000 cleaners, porters and security guards an additional 5.25 euros ($5.50) per hour during the summer. One of Europe’s busiest airports needs to hire 500 security guards. Before the pandemic there were 68,000 workers in and around the airport, now there are 58,000.
** 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 Alliance CDG. More than 20,000 people were made redundant at Charles de Gaulle during the pandemic, according to the CGT union.
The airport security company ICTS which operates at Charles de Gaulle is offering a one-off bonus of 180 euros to those who postpone their holidays after September 15 and 150 euros for staff who take on new recruits, according to a CGT union representative. ** Germany will speed up work permits and visas for several thousand foreign airport workers, mostly from Turkey, to work with ground crews, including in baggage handling to help ease the chaos of the travel.
According to airport association ADV, about one in five security, check-in and aircraft handling jobs go unfilled at airports nationwide. **Ireland has agreed to put the military on standby to help with security at Dublin Airport if staff are affected by a resurgence of COVID-19 during the remainder of the summer travel period. As Dublin Airport has reduced security times at gates, some arriving passengers are complaining about lost luggage and posting photos of piled-up luggage online.
** The Portuguese government plans to more than double border control staff at the country’s six airports by July 4. ** In Spain, police will hire 500 more staff, bringing the total to 1,700 deployed at the country’s busiest airports, including Madrid and Barcelona. . ($1 = 0.9562 euros)
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