US airlines cancel 700 flights while German airports look to hire foreign workers

Delta Air Lines had to cancel over 100 flights on Sunday©AirTeamImages

On both sides of the Atlantic carriers and airports have been struggling to take on new staff to cope with the surge in demand for air travel after the lifting of multiple worldwide travel restrictions.

Airlines and airports alike shed thousands of jobs at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and many of those employees have gone on to find employment in other industries and have chosen not to return to the aviation sector. In the US, as at 6.07 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday, according to Flightaware.com, 669 flights into, out of or within the country had been cancelled. This follows on from approximately 860 flights which were cancelled on Sunday. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines both cancelled over 100 flights, while American Airlines Group was forced to cancel 51 flights. In the US not only are carriers suffering from a lack of cabin crew and pilots, but there are also problems with staffing levels for air traffic control.

Germany’s Interior Ministry has announced that as a countermeasure for airports which are becoming overwhelmed with passengers during the busy summer season, temporary foreign workers are to be brought in to help. They will be offered a standard wage and accommodation and will still have to go through all the required security checks, which is roughly a two-week process. According to Reuters news agency, one in five positions in the security, check-in and aircraft handling sectors at German airports is currently unfilled. German Airports are shortly expected to announce their exact needs, but the ABL association of aircraft ground handling employees expects 1,000 to 2,000 workers will be allowed in for three months, most likely starting in August.

“A time limit of a maximum of six months until the end of the year would have been nice,” said Thomas Richter, ABL’s head in an interview with Reuters. “It doesn’t solve the problem, but it certainly helps.”

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