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Airport Chaos in Europe

Airlines such as Lufthansa, British Airways, EasyJet, and many more are forced to cancel thousands of flights to handle the disruptions due to strikes and staff shortages which cause long queues at major European airports.

When the global pandemic brought travel to an almost stop, there were a lot of job cuts and pay cuts throughout the industry, from pilots to baggage handlers. Now the staff of the airline companies and airport workers are asking for increases in pay and better working conditions.    

Airports are choosing to implement flight and passenger caps as their tools to lessen the issues in airline travel nowadays. Heathrow, Frankfurt, and Schiphol are at the top of the airports that resort to flight and passenger caps.

Heathrow announced that it would be capping daily passengers to 100.000 and asked the airlines to suspend the sale of other summer flights until at least the end of October. According to the airport, there are still staff shortages in positions related to check-in and handling. The passenger cap of Heathrow might cut off at least 350 flights a day from its schedule.

The second busiest airport in the United Kingdom, Gatwick Airport, dropped its operational capacity from 900 to 825 for the summer period.

One of the busiest airports in Germany, the Frankfurt Airport, also decided to implement an hourly cap. Frankfurt requested approval from the Ministry of Travel to lower the number of flights per hour from 96 to 88. The primary airline in the airport, Lufthansa, has already decreased its routes.    

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam had seen mass cancellations, hundreds of meters of queues, and airlines pulling out of the airport due to these serious disruptions during this summer airport chaos. Schiphol resorted to capping the daily passenger limit at 70.000.

On the other front of the airport chaos, there have been some salary increases as well as some more plans for strikes.

The plans for a three-day strike of refuellers at Heathrow Airport in Britain at the beginning of July have been suspended after the employees received a new offer.

French Unions have reached an agreement with salary increases changing from 1% to 6% on July 19.

The German union representing Lufthansa ground staff has been demanding at least extra 350 euros every month to cushion the effects of inflation.   

Ryanair agreed with the unions representing pilots from France and Spain to pre-pandemic salaries and to allow wage improvements and benefits beyond that.

EasyJet cabin crew from Spain has been planning to go on a strike, demanding a 40% increase in their salary.

Germany plans to get foreign airport workers, mainly from Turkey, with fast-track work permits to calm airports’ chaos.

The travel chaos seems to continue throughout the summer. The authorities from airline companies warn the passengers to come much earlier than usual to handle the disruptions.

Edited by: Hanieh Khakpour

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