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If you are flying this summer, consider arriving at the airport earlier

With Covid-19 restrictions easing in most countries, the wanderlust is back. They would even be stronger than expected, in the first quarter of 2022. “Forecasters did not expect such a strong recovery in air traffic. At certain French airports, such as Beauvais, traffic will even be higher than in 2019”, added indicated Thomas June, president of the Union of French airports to West France, Tuesday, May 10. The trend should therefore continue this summer and the summer holidays. Except that, with the health crisis, airports have lost many employees: “15 to 20% of their staff”, since 2020.

“We observe a problem of understaffing on the ground staff, such as security agents, ground handling assistants but also in the shops”, pointed out Thomas June. Air traffic has resumed faster than airports have recruited, so passengers are taking a little longer than usual to pass through security checks or exit the complex. It is therefore advisable to arrive earlier so as not to miss your plane, especially this summer. “Most airports, and in particular the larger ones, expect the quality of the passenger experience to be inevitably affected by this staff shortage this summer,” June told Ouest-France. Flights could even be canceled.

A complicated recruitment

Recruitment is also complicated. Even if campaigns have been launched, in particular by Aéroports de Paris (ADP) which plans to hire 4,000 people, the new agents will not all be able to be operational before the summer holidays. “Security agents require between three to five months of training and a double validation of their approval by the State”, justified Thomas June. On the other hand, the sector has suffered from a “lack of attractiveness” since the health crisis. As with the catering or tourism professions, employees have turned to other work rhythms, less staggered and without strain on weekends.

France is not the only country in this situation. At Birmingham airport in the United Kingdom, the lack of staff gave rise to scenes of chaos on Monday May 9. Some people had to wait outside for two hours to pass the security gates and go to register. These scenes were also repeated last week in many English airports, such as Manchester, Stansted and London (Heathrow).

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