European airports are finding it difficult to cope with the “sudden” increase in traffic

European airports are finding it difficult to cope with the "sudden" increase in traffic

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After drastically reducing their workforce at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, airports are seeking recruitment as traffic resumption raises fears of congestion risk.

The “sudden” influx of travelers to European airports following the lifting of restrictions on Covid-19 is a “challenge”, the agency, which configured the equipment, said on Thursday that it had reduced its workforce during the crisis. At a time when evidence of airport congestion is proliferating, the European branch of the International Airports Council (ACI Europe) has acknowledged the existence of “significant restrictions” affecting air transport.

“The immediate challenge is to manage the sudden increase in traffic, as the pandemic has resulted in a huge reduction in airport resources and ground handling,” said the ACI Europe director general. , Olivier Jankovec, said in a press release.

“This is a re-employment, in a very narrow labor market across Europe,” he said, adding that “it is impossible to make adjustments overnight, given the security accreditation process and the time required for training.”

The previous day, the main global airline association, Iata, had called for an “urgent response” to the causes of this saturation. Regretting the “long waits at many airports due to insufficient resources to manage the growing crowd”, Iata CEO Willie Walsh had called for measures to “avoid consumer enthusiasm for air travel”. .

KLM was forced to cancel dozens of flights to and from Amsterdam-Schiphol last weekend, flooded by large crowds during the spring break. The unions representing employees or subcontractors of Groupe ADP, Paris’s airport manager, have also warned of the risk of congestion, especially in security checks, with 4,000 posts to be filled on these platforms and that companies are finding it difficult to recruit.

Lack of pilots in the United States

The industry is facing “operational difficulties” in Europe and North America as a result of the end of the crisis, Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith said on Thursday. “There is a huge shortage of pilots in the United States that is forcing many American companies to cancel flights this summer (…) in some places there are not enough border guards or customs guards,” he told a news conference. publication of the quarterly results of his group.

“What happened in Amsterdam was not a good situation, it was very frustrating for us and extremely frustrating and unacceptable for our customers,” added Benjamin Smith, “to do our best with Schiphol to try to manage better the situation. this summer”.

Both Iata Worldwide and ACI Europe recorded March 2022 activity at the highest level since the pandemic began wreaking havoc on the airline industry in March 2020, tripling the number of travelers that year. Last March, despite the war in Ukraine, airports on the European continent welcomed 65.9% of their passengers in the same month of 2019, according to the organization. Clear improvement compared to 41% of the pre-crisis observed throughout 2021.

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