Overcrowding continues at airports in Europe

While the number of employees at airports across Europe is shrinking, the increase in passengers and flights continues to make the journey of international passengers to the region a challenge.

The increase in international flights from countries in the region since June, with the start of the holiday season, has caused a crisis at many airports where staff are reduced and current employees are on strike due to the COVID- 19.

There are long queues for ticket checks and baggage loading at international airports in many countries, while long waits are experienced for baggage purchases in the arrivals section.


Flight cancellations are happening at airports where some staff have been on strike for more than a month.

The passenger plane was unable to take off for a day due to a strike by security guards at Brussels airport in Belgium on June 20.

As the security check of passengers and baggage could not be carried out, a return flight from Brussels Airport could not be carried out. The airport could only provide inbound passenger and cargo services for that day.

Strikes by airline employees also cause densities at Brussels Airport. Due to the strike, flights are delayed or canceled.

Disruption at Brussels and Charleroi airports due to strikes by Ryanair employees since July 22 have led to backlogs

In mid-June, together with Ryanair, Brussels Airlines employees went on strike for three days and more than 500 flights were delayed at Brussels Airport.


Authorities at Dutch Amsterdam Schiphol airport have been struggling to find a solution at the current intensity since April.

Although the strike called by Royal Dutch Airlines KLM ground handling agents on the morning of April 23 is over, the problem of baggage accumulation, delay and loss at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol remains still unresolved.

Some of the flights from the airport, where many flights were canceled, are moved to surrounding airports in the cities of Rotterdam and Eindhoven.

In order to reduce the current congestion, passengers with a flight of more than 4 hours are kept outside the airport, while the queues formed in the international departures section of the airport reach hundreds of meters.

On July 20, due to a malfunction in the baggage system at the airport, thousands of passengers with baggage other than their carry-on baggage were canceled and piles of baggage piled up at the airport.

It was noted that 41.5% of flights on the dates specified at Schiphol, which ranks fourth in the list of “most problematic airports” created by CNN Travel according to flight delays between May 26 and July 19 , suffered delays.


With the school holidays in Switzerland, many families traveling abroad suddenly disrupted the operation of the country’s airports.

At Zurich airport, which was most affected by flight density, 750 suitcases piled up in the baggage claim area on June 29 and 30 due to a lack of staff and some flight cancellations .

In addition, due to the disruption of baggage services at the airport, an average of 250 pieces of baggage cannot be delivered to its owner each day, and to date, more than 1,700 pieces of baggage are waiting to be delivered to its passengers. .

Nathalie Berchtold, spokeswoman for the airline Swissport, said in a statement on the matter that they would solve the problem by trying to deliver luggage left at the airport to its owners via cargo.

Image: Associated Press


German airline Lufthansa Airlines has announced that it has canceled 2,000 flights from or to Frankfurt and Munich until the end of August.

It was noted that flight cancellations were due to airline and airport staffing shortages. Lufthansa canceled more than 4% of its flights in June.

At Frankfurt International Airport (FRA), which has reduced the number of employees by 4,000 during the Covid-19 epidemic, 7.8% of flights which were due to operate from July have been canceled, while that 68% were delayed.

At the airport, where thousands of suitcases are piled up, management has asked travelers to choose colorful and eye-catching luggage.

On the other hand, similar images were experienced at Cologne-Bonn airport, with long lines of passengers and stacked suitcases.

9.5% of flights at the airport in June were canceled and almost half of flights during the summer season were delayed.

The German government, which wanted to make up for the shortage of personnel in airports, saw in Turkish workers a solution. With the bilateral agreement signed between Germany and Turkey earlier this month, the shortage of “guest workers” from Turkey should be filled, especially in the purchase and transport of luggage.

However, it is stated that this method can take weeks due to strict security checks during recruitment.


At Heathrow Airport, which does not have enough staff to cope with the increase in international flights after the removal of COVID-19 measures, management has failed to recruit staff quickly.

Nearly 700 British Airways staff working at Heathrow, mostly at ticket checkpoints, went on strike in early summer to protest the 10% pay cut implemented during COVID-19 . The staff, whose salaries have been increased by 8%, decided to end their actions on July 22.

On the other hand, demands for improved wages for workers at Aviation Fuel Services (AFS), one of the companies operating at Heathrow, have also been accepted.

When airport management could not meet growing demand with a small number of staff, they asked airlines to restrict ticket sales. This situation has sparked reactions, particularly at Emirates Airlines.


Many flights have been canceled in Italy due to the July 17 4-hour strike by some air traffic controller unions and low-cost airline workers.

At the call of some trade unions in the country, in addition to air traffic controllers and ground agents at different airports, the staff of some low-cost companies such as Ryanair, Air Malta, Easyjet and Volotea went on strike today between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

It was noted that hundreds of flights were canceled and some flights were delayed due to the 4-hour strike across the country.

* News image courtesy of The Associated Press.

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