Wednesday, June 29, 2022
LifestyleTravelMadness and mayhem at European airports this summer

Madness and mayhem at European airports this summer

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Travel in Europe has become a big challenge of late. In May, the queues outside Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport were so long that KLM halted ticket bookings for four days.

Meanwhile airports in London have super long lines with people just waiting but not being able to get to their gates in time resulting in hundreds of flights getting delayed and cancelled.

In Spain, Iberia airlines said that some 15,000 passengers missed their flight from Madrid since March all due to airport delays.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the reason for all the chaos was after two pandemic summers people have decided to take to the skies making up for two years of not going anywhere. The problem is also that airports and airlines are not well prepared for the onslaught of travellers.

During the pandemic air travel was severely curtailed and as a result a lot of staff at airports and airlines were retrenched. The shortage is being felt acutely at the moment with a lack of staff at airport security, ground staff, at baggage handling, maintenance and cabin crew.

In Paris both the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports have a shortage of 4,000 workers and they are also in need of 300 to 500 border police personnel.

The increase in travel has resulted in chaos with lost baggage, long queues and flight cancellations.

Compounding the situation, remaining airport staff are on strike protesting low wages and difficult working conditions.

In the UK, there was mayhem last week as people flew in for the Queen’s platinum jubilee but thousands were left stranded at various European cities due to flight cancellations. The Eurostar train service from Paris to London was also severely disrupted.

At present, British Airways and EasyJet are cancelling more than a hundred flights daily. Heathrow airport CEO John Holland-Kaye said that it would likely take more than a year for the sector to recover fully.

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