At 3 p.m. on June 20 and in a hotel room in Doha, Qatar, Karsten does not hide an inchEnthusiasm for the return of passengers on his planes and those of other airlines. But immediately after that, looking at what is happening in Europe, Lufthansa number one becomes serious: “Things will not get better in the next few weeks, the worst is yet to come,” he admits in front of some foreign journalists. The first (almost) normal summer after more than two years of the pandemic started with chaos at European airports.
Long queues at stations – Last weekend the average wait in Amsterdam was four hours –Canceled or severely delayed flightsAnd the Tens of thousands of luggage were also lost due to failed sorting systemsAnd the Customer service centers on the mileAnd the Planes take off without food or drink For problems while refueling. To make matters worse Strikes have also been added – in Spain, France, Italy, Belgium and Portugal – Which mainly relates to low cost and which will continue in July as well.
About 11,000 flights were canceled last month in EuropeThree times three years ago. Since April 1, there are at least 70,000. Continental companies risk bombing 453 million euros in compensation, only for June’s problems, to 1.5 million passengers. He replies to “Every year we pay $10 billion in compensation.” courier Willie Walsh, general manager of Iata, an association that represents airlines. “I think this time the airports should pay too: these inconveniences are not caused by us.” In July, August and September, companies canceled another 41,000 flights (in which 7 million people participated). The cuts were announced by Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Air France KLM, British Airways, easyJet, Sas. There are also problems in Canada and the USA. American Airlines estimates that supply to major US airlines fell 15% between July and August.
Passengers are back in the volumes of 2019, pre-Covid. But not employees of companies and airports (France has at least four thousand vacancies), Handling companies, restaurants, private security companies. It could take up to six months between hiring and the issuance of the security clearance, according to estimates by Aci Europe, the association of airports. And there is also a segment of already trained people, who, having been expelled during the epidemic, decided to do something else. “Everyone wonders where the employees have gone and the answer is always: Amazon,” says Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines.. To deal with the emergency, Germany will “import” workers from abroad to help with the stations. In Ireland, the military was alerted that it was ready to intervene at Dublin Airport.
Not so everywhere. When governments interfere with social protection measures, harassment is contained. This is the case of Italy, as confirmed by Pierluigi Di Palma, head of the National Civil Aviation Agency (Enac).“A layoff fund and €800m in aid have allowed airport staff to be retained,” he says. But air travel is an ecosystem. What happens for example in the UK – With stops sent home up to 50% of the workforce – It also has repercussions here.
The trouble spot in Europe? Only United Kingdom (notably London Heathrow and Gatwick), Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Hamburg, Brussels. Those who have to move should pay attention to timing, especially if they have to stop at these structures to make a transcontinental flight. Not only. The planes are also full. This would be great news for airlines in normal times. But today it is an additional headache as it does not allow passengers to resettle on canceled flights On those who are confirmed and who usually have free seats.
After all, people can’t wait to get out after more than two years of restrictions. And they pay more, too. Average prices for road trips within Europe increased by almost 30% compared to the previous summer and up to 12% in 2019 according to specialized databases. In some cases, such as flights to Spain and Greece more. The question, looking at the “War” handout, is When all this is resolved. The most optimistic insiders say from October to November, the most pessimistic movement until April 2023. In the coming weeks it will be necessary to be patient. As Asian Cathay Pacific writes to its customers, “In Europe, don’t be aggressive with airline and airport staff. Be Zen ».