Handling services - another sector having problems getting staff. | M. Joy

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On Friday, the Airport Services Association (ASA) and the Airports Council International Europe (ACI) issued a joint statement warning of flight delays at European airports this summer because of shortages of ground crew combined with the sudden reactivation of air traffic.

The CEOs of the ASA and ACI, Fabio Gamba and Olivier Jankovic, say that passenger traffic has become much more concentrated at peak times. This traffic is "at levels equal to or higher than before the pandemic".

This is creating "a challenge" for handling services companies, who are having difficulties attracting employees due to low wages and a seven-day week working pattern. There is "no quick and easy solution" in the short term, but there are measures which could reduce the impact. One concerns the processing of security clearance. This can take up to sixteen weeks for new recruits.

Airlines are being asked to revise their schedules in order to reduce traffic peaks, a survey by the ACI indicating that 35% of airport managers believe that the situation with ground handling is likely to get worse.