Factbox-Europe travel disruption extends into fall

– Strikes and staff shortages have forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights to avoid hour-long queues at major airports in the first summer after going mainstream covid closures with disruptions expected to continue through the fall.

Here is a summary of some of the key developments:


After drastically cutting jobs and wages when covid-19 has brought travel to a halt, with staff across the industry, from pilots to baggage handlers, demanding big pay rises and better working conditions.

**European flights were largely disrupted on September 16 as a strike by French air traffic controllers forced airlines to cancel half of those due to arrive or depart from Paris airports and others due to fly over France .

Ryanair said the travel plans of 80,000 passengers were affected when it canceled 420 flights, mostly intended to fly over France.

**Members of Ryanair’s Spanish cabin crew union plan to strike from Monday to Thursday each week until January 7 to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

** Lufthansa and the VC pilots’ union reached an agreement in a pay dispute on September 6, averting a second strike after the first forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

**EasyJet pilots based in Spain flew from Barcelona, ​​Malaga and Palma bases in Mallorca for nine days in August.

Cabin crew in the country have suspended a three-day strike scheduled for the end of July after reaching an agreement with the carrier.

** SAS and Ryanair in July agreed terms with pilot unions, while British Airways and KLM signed agreements with ground staff.

** Norwegian Air agreed in June to a 3.7% salary increase for pilots, among other benefits.


Airlines including Lufthansa, British Airways, easyJet, KLM and Wizz Air have cut thousands of flights from their summer schedules to try to ease disruption, while major airports including London Heathrow and Schiphol in Amsterdam have extended passenger numbers into the fall.

** Schiphol said on September 16 that it would reduce daily passenger numbers by 18% until at least October 31 due to labor shortages, mainly in security personnel. This will reduce the average number of passengers through the airport to 54,500 per day for the rest of September and 57,000 in October, he said.

** After previously reducing its summer schedule and halting ticket sales for short-haul flights from Heathrow until mid-August, British Airways announced on August 22 that it would be carrying out new cancellations until the end of October, after the airport extended its cap on passenger departures. It will also reduce its winter schedule by 8%, impacting around 10,000 flights.

** Meanwhile, London Gatwick Airport said it would not extend passenger number limits beyond August after beefing up security staff, while a board member from Lufthansa said the worst of the flight chaos was over for the airline.


Industry executives say it’s difficult to recruit for often physically demanding and relatively low-paying jobs at airports that are often out of town. Training new hires and getting them security cleared also takes months.

** Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest airports, agreed to pay 15,000 cleaners, baggage handlers and security guards an additional 5.25 euros ($5.25) per hour over the summer. He had to hire 500 security guards after starting the season with about 10,000 fewer workers than before the pandemic.

** Airport Security Company TICwhich operates at Paris Charles de Gaulle, offered a one-time bonus of 180 euros to those who delay their holidays after September 15 and 150 euros for staff who take on new recruits, a CGT said the union representative.

**Only around 150 Turkish airport workers have been hired by German airports, far fewer than initially expected. They will help with baggage handling under temporary contracts that will run until early November.

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