Minister of Transport announces quick solution to airport chaos
Long queues at Düsseldorf Airport.
Thousands of workers from south-eastern Europe are supposed to alleviate the summer chaos at German airports. But all the details on safety and social standards have not yet been decided.
Berlin. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing has announced a timely solution to deal with the chaos in air traffic. The solution is within reach, said the FDP politician on Monday to the broadcaster Welt.
“I hope that in a short time we will be able to bring in specialists with security clearance from abroad without a security gap, so that this situation, which is very unsatisfactory for civilians, can be calmed down again.”
German airports and their ground service providers want to hire thousands of foreign workers directly. The workers are said to come from Turkey and some Balkan countries for a limited period of up to three months. Negotiations are currently underway in the government to clarify the conditions for this.
With a view to the chaotic situation at the airports, Wissing spoke of an unsatisfactory situation. “People want to go on vacation, they are happy to be able to travel again after such a long time. And the fact that air travel just doesn’t work bothers me too.”
The general manager of the airport association ADV, Ralf Beisel, told the German Press Agency on Monday that the foreign workers would be employed directly by ground handling service providers. This means that the models for hiring employees are off the table.
The federal government signaled at the weekend that it would approve the industrial plan. However, the final decision in coordination with the ministries of labour, interior and transport is still pending. A spokesman for the Department of Labor said on Monday talks within the government were still ongoing. The main issue is the relaxation of so-called priority checks as to whether domestic workers are not available for jobs.
hired employees planned summer vacation time
However, it will still be a few weeks before the first employees recruited from abroad can start working at German airports. The Federal Ministry of the Interior hopes that they can also be used during the summer holidays. Short-term staff could be used in baggage handling, for example, said ministry spokesman Maximilian Kall on Monday in Berlin. “This is out of the question for security checks because of the training required and the security standards that apply there,” he said.
The spokesman stressed that anyone doing the work of baggage handling must also go through a security check. This check by the competent state authorities takes about two weeks. The government’s aim is to enable the deployment of additional staff at the earliest, “so that companies can quickly compensate for this acute shortage of staff at airports in the post-corona period”. This remedy is also about creating relief when traveling “this summer”.
Problems in airport terminals
At the weekend, at the beginning of the holiday season in the most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, problems arose again in the terminals of several airports. Due to a lack of staff, there were long waiting times at the passenger controls and initially a lot of luggage was left behind. In Düsseldorf, even the airport fire brigade had to help, as several media reported. Even bigger problems are expected at the start of the Hessian holiday season on July 23rd.
ADV had estimated the total requirement for airports including check-ins and aviation security checks for this summer at around 5,500 employees. Just before the start of the main holiday season, many airlines have canceled flights. Lufthansa has canceled a total of almost 3,000 flights at its centers in Frankfurt and Munich as more and more crew members fell ill with coronavirus cases. The low-cost subsidiary Eurowings also canceled hundreds of flights in July. At Berlin Airport alone, market leader EasyJet reduced its flight schedule for the summer months by around 1,000 flights.
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