German official says ending privileged treatment of some airline passengers could ease airport chaos

As flights continue to be canceled across Europe and passengers endure hours of waiting at security checkpoints, many frustrated travelers are wondering when this so-called “travel chaos” will end.

A German official now has a unique idea that may not end travel delays, but could alleviate them to some extent.

“There are measures that companies, which bear some of the responsibility for their own staff shortages, can take,” Maximilian Kall, spokesman for the German Interior Ministry, said earlier this week according to the report. ‘Associated Press.

“For example, they could open up ‘fast lanes’ for all travelers and end the privileged treatment a few passengers get,” Kall said. “They could also smooth out their flight schedules and avoid load peaks.”

Why there are travel delays

The problem in Europe, and around the world for that matter, is that when travel was halted during the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines and airports laid off dozens of employees. Now that travel restrictions have been lifted and people are traveling again, airlines and airports are finding themselves short-staffed.

“Some airlines are struggling because I think they were hoping to get their workforce back faster than they could,” said Willie Walsh, director of the International Air Transport Association, according to the Union Times.

Meanwhile, the laid-off aviation workers “have found new jobs with higher wages, with more stable contracts”, said Joost van Doesburg of the FNV union, which represents most Schiphol airport employees. from Amsterdam. Union Times reports. “Now everyone wants to travel again,” but workers don’t want airport jobs.

Consequently, officials at Gatwick and Heathrow airports in London are asking airlines to limit their number of flights, and officials at Schiphol, the busiest airport in the Netherlands, are reducing flights because there are currently thousands more airplane seats every day than security personnel can handle. Union Times keep on going.

And in Sweden, queues for security checks at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport got so long that some passengers started arriving more than 5 hours before boarding time hoping to get through. perform their flight. Unfortunately, this practice has led to even more congestion, so authorities are now turning away travelers who arrived more than 3 hours before their flight, according to Union Times.

Take corrective action

Passenger complaints and airport requests do not necessarily fall on deaf ears. For example, Carsten Spohr, chief executive of German airline Lufthansa, apologized to employees and customers earlier this week for travel chaos caused by labor shortages.

“We certainly made mistakes saving our company and over 100,000 jobs over the past two years,” Spohr wrote in a letter to employees, according to Reuters. “Have we gone too far in cutting costs here and there, under the pressure of the more than 10 billion euros [$10.6 billion] in pandemic-related losses? Certainly, that too.

Now Lufthansa has announced that it will cancel more than 2,000 more flights this summer at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs due to staff shortages, according to DW, the German international broadcaster. The news comes less than 2 weeks after Lufthansa announced it would cancel 900 flights in July.

Although Lufthansa’s actions may provide short-term relief, company officials do not expect Lufthansa’s flight operations to return to normal any time soon.

“Unfortunately, we can hardly realistically achieve a short-term improvement this summer,” Lufthansa board member Detlef Kayser told Die Welt (DW) newspaper. “We expect the situation to return to normal by 2023.”

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