After working as a service agent at Air France for 21 years, Karim Jeffal quit his job during the Covid-19 pandemic and started his own job coaching consultant.

“If this doesn’t work, I won’t be back in the aviation sector,” says the 41-year-old frankly. “Some shifts started at 4am and others ended at midnight. You may be exhausted.”

Djeffal is an airport and airline across Europe where people trying to make up for vacations lost during a pandemic compete to hire thousands to meet the resurgence of demand, called “revenge trips.” You can taste what you are facing.

Airports in Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands are trying to offer benefits such as salary increases and bonuses to workers who refer friends.

Leading operators have already flagged thousands of openings across Europe. But the industry says that 600,000 jobs have been lost across the European aviation industry since the pandemic began.

According to analysts and industry insiders, recruitment Blitz eliminates the risk of flight cancellations and isn’t fast enough to wait long for travelers beyond the peak of summer.

After two years of pandemic vacuum, the summer when air travel was supposed to return to normal is at risk of a summer when mass and low-cost air travel models have collapsed, at least in Europe’s vast integrated market. ..

Labor shortages and strikes have already caused confusion this spring in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Frankfurt.

Airlines such as the low-cost giant EasyJet have canceled hundreds of summer flights and are experiencing new strikes in Belgium, Spain, France and Scandinavia.

As industry leaders head to the summit in Qatar this week, the main theme is who will be responsible for the turmoil between airlines, airports and governments.

James Halstead, managing partner of the consultancy’s aviation strategy, said:

According to the industry’s leading Air Transport Action Group, the aviation industry lost 2.3 million jobs worldwide during the pandemic, with ground handling and security the hardest hit.

Many workers are late to return home because they are fascinated by the “gig” economy and choose to retire early.

“They obviously have alternatives now and can change jobs,” said Rico Ruman, senior economist at ING.

He hopes that travel pressures will ease after the summer, but the shortage may continue as older workers move away and, critically, fewer young workers are willing to replace them. He says.

“Even if there is a recession, the labor market will remain tight, at least this year,” he said.

Low morale

According to the CFDT union, the main factor delaying employment is the time it takes new workers to obtain security clearance, which takes up to five months for the most delicate work in France.

Marie Maribel, 56, works as a security guard at CDG to screen luggage for around € 2,100 per month after tax.

She says the shortage led to staff overwork. Passengers stranded are becoming aggressive. Low morale.

“There are young people coming and going again a day later,” she says. “They say we earn cashier wages for very responsible work.”

The situation in France has been stable after a lot of turmoil in May, said Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France-KLM’s French division.

Still, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, where one union called for a strike on July 2, still need to fill a total of 4,000 vacant seats, operators said.

In the Netherlands, where the unemployment rate is much lower at 3.3%, vacant seats are at record highs, and hundreds of flights have been canceled at KLM’s Schiphol Hub Airport, creating long queues.

Skipol is currently offering a summer bonus of € 5.25 per hour to 15,000 workers in the areas of security, baggage handling, transportation and cleaning. This is a 50% increase in minimum wage workers.

“It’s huge, of course, but it’s not enough,” said Joostvan Doesburg of Union FNV.

“Honestly, the last six weeks haven’t been a promotion to get to work at the airport.”

Schiphol Airport and Gatwick Airport in London announced plans to limit capacity during the summer last week, forcing more cancellations as airlines, airports and politicians vie for the crisis.


Luis Felipe de Oliveira, head of the Global Airport Association ACI, said Reuters airports have been unfairly accused and airlines should make more efforts to deal with queues and rising costs. ..

Willy Walsh, head of the International Air Transport Association, a global aviation industry group conference in Qatar, dismissed the story of the collapse of air travel as “hysteria.”

Walsh then condemns some of the turmoil in the behavior of “stupid politicians” in places like Britain, where frequent changes in Covid’s policies have discouraged employment.

The June 19-21 IATA meeting is expected to provide a relatively optimistic view of growth restrained by inflation concerns.

For years, these gatherings have portrayed the industry as a positive face of globalization, connecting people and things with more competitive fares than ever before.

However, the European labor crisis exposes its vulnerabilities to the vulnerable workforce, and as a result, rising costs can push up fares and put pressure on restructuring.

In Germany, for example, employers say that many ground workers have joined online retailers such as Amazon.

Thomas Richter, Chief of the German Ground Handling Employers Association ABL, said:

Analysts say labor pressures can increase costs beyond the summer, but the industry has created new routes and kept fares low, a pre-pandemic volume increase and cost-cutting model. It’s too early to decide if you have to retreat from.

But for some layoffs, the fierce summer in Europe has shown a wake-up call to both passengers and bosses.

“I personally think it’s a very cheap flight … I don’t know how they can really catch up,” said a former British Airways flight attendant, 58, who took the redundancy. rice field. -Reuters

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