The break in Paris joins London and Amsterdam: labor pressure threatens European air traffic


image of Charles de Gaulle airport
image of Charles de Gaulle airportEric PiermontAFP

At the door of the first summer of relative normality after the pandemic, pressure is building in European skies. These past weeks of chaos at the two main European airports (at Heathrow, in London and at Amsterdam-Schiphol) have now added to the conflict at one of the busiest airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle, where they have canceled staff. One out of every four flights that take place today is because of the U.S. strike, which calls for better working conditions and an increase in pay.

The airline sector is experiencing a kind of great resignation, which is said to be in the US, where thousands of workers have left their jobs after the pandemic, finding that it is more beneficial for them to live on savings or aid. Less to work with such a high salary.

This labor pressure has been transferred to European airports, albeit in a different way: in the United Kingdom they face the problem of personnel shortages, as workers face reactivation of traffic for them after Brexit. It’s not easy. In Amsterdam they face difficulties recruiting troops to the extent that the reference airline in the country, KLM, has had to stop selling tickets, as it cannot guarantee that flights will take off. There are airlines in the United Kingdom that have canceled dozens of operations for the same reason.

In Spain, the chaos has originated in the impasse at passport control, as the British, who are no longer European citizens, must pass this filter, which is not mandatory before Brexit (and therefore, before the pandemic). Airlines have been seeking reinforcements for months from the Interior Ministry, which announced yesterday that it would be increasing staff.

work problem

In all cases, there is an underlying labor problem, a shortage of personnel, the air sector, one of the areas most damaged by the pandemic: in the most difficult months of the pandemic, practically 90% of the fleet was grounded and most of its workers ERTE. were in position.

At the gates of summer, the fact that the three main air connection points in Europe report personnel shortages and face cancellations and delays threatens the collapse of flows. In the case of Paris, it is a strike by airport workers, demanding a pay increase.

France’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked companies to reduce the number of flights this morning in view of problems faced by other major airports due to problems in managing passengers due to shortage of personnel.

In Spain, the Popular Parliamentary Group has requested the presence of the members of the government involved, the Ministers of Transport and Tourism and the person in charge of internal affairs, to explain the traffic jams in the above controls. ,

The airline sector has been condemning for some time that a lack of agents at passport control could lead to a decline in major airports. The ALA, the Association of Air Lines, sent a letter to the interior months ago asking for reinforcements. Both the ALA and Iberia have reported that some 20,000 flights have been lost in Barajas alone since the start of the year, and the problem extends to other tourist airports.


In the case of French airports, the main unions have condemned that some 15,000 jobs have been lost in the airfield in two years and call for reform of the templates that now face this peak of activity.

The collapse of European airports is reminiscent of the supply chain bottleneck experienced a few months ago, when a rapid and unexpected recovery of activity caused further problems in trade and logistics around the world. The airports of London, Amsterdam, Paris and Madrid are the main connectivity centers in Europe, given that most long-distance flights stop at one of these points, which could jeopardize the recovery of tourism in which it is expected to be a To be record heat.

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