Facts: The chaos of summer travel in Europe

Passengers line up at the check-in desk at Heathrow Terminal 5 in London, Britain, June 1, 2022.

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June 19 (Reuters) – Strikes and staff shortages are forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights and cause hours-long queues at major airports, dashing hopes of a busy first summer after the Covid shutdown. Read more

Here’s what we know:

Work Disorders:

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After massive job cuts and deep wage cuts when the coronavirus brought travel to a standstill, employees across the industry from pilots to baggage handlers are demanding big pay increases and better working conditions.

Norwegian Airlines (NAS.OL) last week agreed to a 3.7% pay increase for pilots among other benefits, a sign of what other airlines might offer to avoid labor conflict. Read more

** Heathrow Airport

British Airways-owned ICAG.L check-in staff may strike at Britain’s busiest airport next month due to pay cuts due to the pandemic that they say has not been fully restored.

** Brussels

Security workers at Brussels Airport plan to disable instruments on June 20 and pilots at Brussels Airlines on June 23 and 25.

** Charles de Gaulle, Paris

Workers at France’s main airport began a strike on June 9 to demand a 300-euro ($313) monthly wage increase and better working conditions, which led to the cancellation of 25% of flights. Further action is scheduled for July 2. read more

** Ryanair (RYA.I)

Seven unions from Italy, France, Portugal, Belgium and Spain warned in May that cabin crew could go on strike this summer if the airline did not provide a “meaningful response” to its demands for better working conditions.

Since then, Portuguese and Spanish cabin staff have announced plans to strike in late June and early July. Read more


About 1,000 SAS pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden could pull out from late June due to disagreements over pay and cost-cutting methods at struggling Northern Airlines. Read more

Discounted summer schedules:

Airlines, including Deutsche Lufthansa and easyJet, have reduced flights while airports, including Gatwick and Schiphol, limit the volume of passengers they will handle during the summer. Read more

Employment Spree 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 the industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

Industry executives say it is difficult to attract people to the physically demanding and relatively low-paid work at airports that are often out of town. Training staff and obtaining security clearance to work at airports also takes months.

** Schiphol has agreed to pay 15,000 cleaners, baggage handlers and security staff an additional €5.25 ($5.50) per hour during the summer.

One of Europe’s busiest airports needs to hire 500 security staff. Before COVID, there were 68,000 workers in and around the airport, now there are 58,000. READ MORE

** The Portuguese government plans to double the number of border control personnel at the country’s six airports by July 4. read more

** In Spain, the police will hire an additional 500 employees, bringing the total to 1,700 workers at the country’s busiest airports, including Madrid and Barcelona.

** At German airports, nearly 20% of positions in security, check-in and aircraft handling are vacant, according to Ralph Bissell, director general of the ADV Airports Association.

There is a shortage of 2,000 ground handling workers.

The country’s aviation lobby – airlines, airports and ground service providers – has asked the federal government to allow them to hire 2,000 temporary workers from Turkey.

** Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports need to fill 4,000 jobs mainly in security, maintenance and retail travel, according to airport operator Groupe ADP and CDG Alliance.

More than 20,000 people have been laid off in Charles de Gaulle during the pandemic, according to the CGT union.

Airport security company ICTS operating in Charles de Gaulle pays a one-time bonus of 180 euros to employees for delaying their leave beyond September 15 and 150 euros to employees who register new recruits, according to CGT representative Marie Mariville.

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Additional reporting by Klaus Lauer in Berlin, Juliette Portala and Caroline Bailes in Paris, Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Paul Sandel in London, Reuters offices; compiled by Boleslav Lasuki, Antonis Triantavilo, and Thiago Brandau in Gdansk; Editing by Mila Nessi, Josephine Mason, Eileen Hardcastle

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