Are there more flight delays in the summer?

People in Germany have rediscovered their desire to travel. More holiday bookings have already been made over the Easter holiday, and tour operators are anticipating a further increase in air travel bookings in the summer months. “In the past few months, weekly comparisons have seen bookings almost consistently higher than those of 2019 – that is, before Corona,” according to a German Travel Association (DRV) report. But there is a shortage of ground staff at airports. Are airports at risk of plunging into chaos during peak travel season?

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Read more after the announcement

“Basically, people want to travel again and get out into the world. We are looking forward to our passengers and to the fact that the Frankfurt Airport hub starts operating again,” a Frankfurt Airport spokesperson said about the current situation. But the higher number of passengers often does not match the number of staff required to ensure the operation runs smoothly.

A cargo plane takes off at Frankfurt Airport.

20 percent of employees are missing

At all locations, service providers involved in handling passengers are missing about 20 percent of ground staff compared to the pre-corona period. This can lead to jams at peak times, particularly at check-in, when loading bags and in the air traffic control area, says Ralph Bissell, ADV general manager.

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Read more after the announcement

In addition to queues at check-in and security, a shortage of ground transportation services may mean travelers have to wait longer than usual for their bags after landing.

At Aeroground, a subsidiary of Munich Airport, which is responsible for loading and unloading aircraft, among other things, operations are currently running largely without bottlenecks. However, as summer approaches, they are beginning to hire more employees, according to the company

Several passenger planes are parked in front of the capital's BER airport.

Several passenger planes are parked in front of the capital’s BER airport.

At Frankfurt Airport, the RND’s request states, “In some places there are not enough staff available again. A Frankfurt Airport spokesperson explains that this situation is affecting the entire industry. The airport’s subsidiary FraGround also wants to hire up to 1,000 new employees.” general.

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Is the shortage of skilled workers causing pressure before the start of the vacation?

Will this number be reached by summer? Uncertain. Bisel says there is currently a shortage of skilled workers in many service occupations, including handling passengers. It’s a responsible job, after all, you have to make sure that people can travel safely and on time. “It’s a job for people who like to be service providers, because you work close to people.”

The Easter holiday recently showed that the demand for travel is increasing again. On the traditionally popular travel day, Good Friday, for example, vacationers had to endure wait times of more than 30 minutes in the morning and evening hours, according to ADV President Bissell. In general, however, the operations went satisfactorily. In general, the balance is positive. “Overall, the increasing number of passengers at airports has been handled professionally,” Bessel says.

At Bremen Airport, the Airbus wide-body transport aircraft is filled with sustainable means.

At Bremen Airport, the Airbus wide-body transport aircraft is filled with sustainable means.

However, all airports are still in talks with companies involved in handling. It is important to be prepared for oncoming traffic and peak loading. “Because rush hour when operations aren’t going smoothly destroys the balance sheet for the whole day,” Bessel says.

This was also confirmed by the airports of Frankfurt and Munich. “We currently have enough staff (eg check-in) – but there may be occasional wait times in the summer at peak times,” says the Bavarian capital. Traffic and passenger handling in Munich ran fairly smoothly over the Easter holiday. At that time, the number of flights was close to 70 percent of the pre-coronavirus period.

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Are we heading into a chaotic travel season?

Chaos at the airport excludes Bezel in this context. The stressful condition of the staff of the travelers is alleviated wherever possible. “Many airports deploy additional staff at hotspots, for example the so-called ‘floor infantry’. They act as contact persons for waiting passengers, for example before check-in. They indicate to passengers the documents they need to be ready for delivery. This saves time when Bags registration.

Travelers themselves can also contribute to their proactive behavior to ensure that waiting times at check-in, security checks, and the like are as short as possible. This includes: “Online flight check-in and all baggage check-in so that fewer hand bags are checked in security. To ensure our passengers have a good travel experience, we are doing everything we can to ensure operations run as smoothly as possible,” explains ADV General Manager .

These tips will also help everyone involved to ensure everything runs smoothly:

  • Always be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure: in this period of time you can arrive at your gate relaxed.
  • Know beforehand the admission requirements: Many countries require an entry form or a negative Covid test. Airline employees often have to check whether the necessary documents are available before boarding a flight.
  • Hand your bag over the night before: This is a good idea if you have an early flight to avoid any queues on the day of travel. This service is not available with every airline, calling the relevant customer hotline will clarify this.
  • Some airports use icons on screens to give a quick overview of how busy security checkpoints are at the moment. Thus travelers can easily see which control has the shortest waiting time.

Another relief this summer is that the number of travelers is still below the pre-corona value, despite the increased interest. According to the ADV: Between April 24 and May 1, there was a 33.5 percent decrease compared to the same period before the pandemic in 2019.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

Not only on the ground, but also in aircraft there is a shortage of personnel. Due to financial losses during the Corona pandemic, many airlines have had to lay off employees. This is now noticeable to travelers. For example, low-cost airline EasyJet is reducing seats on planes in order to be able to take off with fewer cabin crew. However, a spokesperson for the NDA said there should be no flight cancellations.

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