Germany to fast-track foreign airport workers to ease travel chaos

BERLIN, June 29 (Reuters) – The German government will speed up work permits and visas for several thousand foreign airport workers, mostly from Turkey, to help ease the summer travel chaos that has frustrated holidaymakers, German ministers announced on Wednesday.

Travelers across Europe are facing particularly long queues at airports this summer, in part because there aren’t enough staff to handle the rebound in demand from COVID-19 closures. 19.

This support is valuable for companies in the sector, said Stefan Schulte, managing director of Germany’s largest airport operator Fraport (FRAG.DE), in an interview with the RTL television channel.

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“We have been looking for staff abroad for a long time, we are also hiring staff, but the market is extremely tense,” the CEO told RTL, apologizing to passengers for flight delays and long waiting times. waiting at airports.

Germany’s aviation sector is now aiming to bring workers with airport experience, mainly from Turkey, to Germany to work with ground crews, including in baggage handling, the interior minister said on Wednesday. Nancy Faeser at a press conference.

They will have to go through the same security checks as national airport workers before being allowed to work at airports, she said.

Airlines, some of which had hoped to hire foreign staff through temporary work agencies, will have to hire workers directly and at standard wages, Labor Minister Heil said.

Labor Minister Hubertus Heil blamed the staff shortage on airlines and airport operators, saying they had laid off too many workers during the pandemic who had now found jobs in other sectors, such as construction. package delivery.

“It would have been up to the companies to act. We now see that it hasn’t been done to a sufficient extent,” he said.

Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) Chief Executive Carsten Spohr on Tuesday apologized to employees and customers for the chaos, saying the flagship carrier made mistakes when it cut costs during the pandemic in an attempt to save the business. Read more

Heil said government intervention to help companies bring foreign workers to German airports was a temporary measure to ease the pressure on holidaymakers.

“It’s not a long-term solution. It’s up to companies to make sure they’re attractive employers, with decent wages and conditions,” Heil said.

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Reporting by Klaus Lauer, Maria Sheahan and Zuzanna Szymanska. Editing by Jane Merriman and David Evans

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