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SCHNEFELD (dpa-AFX) – This could be the first real summer on the road since the outbreak of the corona pandemic: no dangerous variant of the virus overseas makes headlines; Travel restrictions, especially in the EU, have been significantly eased. “We see a very high demand for holiday travel,” said easyJet Germany CEO Stephan Erler of the German news agency for BER-Capital Airport. “Customers are more confident about the reduction of the crown and reporting constraints.”
However, as at many other German airports, staff shortages in airlines and service providers threaten to undermine the desire to travel during holidays. Tenor from companies: We are basically prepared for a rush of staff – but unplanned absences can quickly ruin processes.
“The slightest disturbance can lead to delays,” said Erler, for example. “This is a situation that certainly requires a lot of understanding from our customers. We will not be able to achieve everything perfectly. ” Despite high demand, Easyjet withdrew several flights from the summer program a few weeks ago. “Our plan was to bring our network-wide capabilities closer to the 2019 data,” said Erler. “We need to make a few cuts now. We are currently planning almost 90 percent of our pre-crisis flight capacity. “
Not only airlines but also related airport service providers lack “qualified personnel to rapidly expand capacity to the desired level of demand after a crisis,” said a Vistag spokeswoman. The service provider is one of the three companies that at BER deal with, inter alia, passenger service, parking service and cleaning works.
However, there are no severe staff shortages in the Wisag itself – emphasized the spokeswoman. “We are rather staffed so that we can meet our customer service requirements, even with the current growth in traffic.” The current incidence corresponds to the annual average. At the same time, the same applies to Wisag: the large number of sick leave workers “cannot be easily compensated for”.
At Swissport, another ground service provider in BER, the workforce situation is also “broadly stable,” said on request. “Swissport is confident it will be able to cover planned air traffic on BER this summer.” Despite all the precautions, waiting times for check-in or baggage reclaim may be longer during peak travel times, especially on peak days. A third supplier, Aeroground Berlin, was asked to make a similar statement.
However, travelers need to be prepared not only for long waiting times and delays. Airline ticket prices are also becoming more and more expensive. On the one hand, high demand meets still limited supply. There are also increased costs for companies that pass them on to travelers. “No airline in the world can currently avoid at least partially passing on the enormous cost increases due to record oil prices,” airline Eurowings said on request. “The bottom line is that airlines continue to face the enormous burdens of rising kerosene prices.”
Next Thursday, BER boss Aletta von Massenbach wants to provide information on how Schnefeld Airport will cope with the current challenges and what passengers can expect in the coming weeks. The federal government has promised a short-term solution: it wants to allow thousands of foreign temporary workers to enter the country to recruit urgently needed personnel./maa/DP/zb
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