The situation for canceled flights in Europe continues to deteriorate day by day, affecting most of the major airlines. Cancellations have been identified mainly in the United Kingdom and Spain, but also in Portugal, Germany, France, Belgium and Italy. Here there was a first strike on June 8, another strike was attended on 25 and another call by several unions on July 17: at the moment it is not known the magnitude of the inconvenience. In the coming weeks, things could get even worse, mainly because more people will be traveling for tourism.
The reasons for the cancellations are different and simultaneous, even if they each have a common underlying reason: on the one hand, there are flights canceled by decision of the airlines themselves due to a shortage of workers, especially among ground employees, on the other hand the delivery of increasingly frequent strikes by the workers themselves, who are protesting Weeks ago, their working conditions deteriorated.
The cancellations affect the whole world and not only Europe, but European countries are witnessing in recent weeks a very large number of strikes and canceled flights, which is not comparable to what happened in other continents.
Canceled flights, often at the last minute, have caused major problems at major airports in Europe. At Heathrow, London’s main airport, there were long queues of passengers for days waiting to board or collect their luggage. It last happened on Thursday, June 30, when the airport asked several airlines to cancel 30 flights due to the lack of ground crew capable of handling all expected passengers: however, the cancellations were announced only a day in advance, fueling the fray. Protests and discontent of people who were left without flights.
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The cancellations are mainly due to a series of cuts made by airlines during the coronavirus pandemic to address the decline in travel revenue and economic revenue, which in turn resulted from restrictions imposed in various countries. Companies had decided to lay off many employees considered less important, such as ground staff, and the same was done by companies operating airports, which depend on workers hired through external companies to carry out various tasks.
But with restrictions lifted and travel resuming, both airlines and airport companies have found themselves unprepared and failed to hire new staff in time for the summer. Added to this are the protests of pilots and flight attendants, who are demanding better wage conditions.
The wage conditions of workers in the sector is also one of the reasons why it is so difficult to find new employees to hire. The ground crew is paid fairly low, in the face of very stressful work with rhythms that often force them to work late at night.
“It is a unique combination of circumstances. There has been a sharp increase in demand after the pandemic, a fact that would have usually prompted airlines to go out of their way to secure passengers. But it has come with a resource and manpower crisis.” Bloomberg John Strickland, aviation analyst at JLS Consulting.
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