The aviation sector in Europe and the United States is witnessing strikes among airport workers due to a mismatch between strong travel demand and a low number of workers, causing hundreds of flight cancellations at major airports.
In France, dozens of scheduled flights were canceled yesterday, Saturday, at Charles de Gaulle Airport in the capital, Paris, due to the continuing strike of airport workers, demanding to improve their living conditions by raising wages and opening the door for employment in light of the high rate of inflation and the strong recovery of air travel with the decline of the Corona pandemic.
Last Friday, Air France announced the cancellation of more than 10% of its short and medium flights from Charles de Gaulle Airport and maintained its long-haul program.
Civil defense men and service workers at Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Marseille airports have continued their strike since last Thursday;
This forced the General Administration of Civil Aviation in France to request the preventive cancellation of a number of flights, and a number of take-off and landing runways were closed due to the insufficient number of workers to ensure the safety of navigational operations.
According to the Paris Airports Administration, these cancellations will affect one out of every five flights.
Negotiations between workers' representatives and the Paris airports administration were suspended on Friday evening without reaching an agreement.
In Britain, according to the General Administration of Civil Aviation, travelers at all airports stand in long queues and face flight delays with the exacerbation of baggage problems.
And the management of Heathrow International Airport in London announced yesterday, Saturday, the cancellation of 30 flights due to the severe shortage of staff.
Heathrow is struggling with resources to meet the growing demand for travel, which has left more than 6,000 passengers stranded.
The management attributes these problems to the significant staff shortage due to the Corona pandemic and the shutdown of the travel industry after the strict restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
More than 6,000 passengers are stranded at London Heathrow International Airport (Reuters)
Germany's airports are witnessing long queues and the cancellation of wholesale flights, especially in Lufthansa, and the German government announced that it will use foreign workers to end the chaos in its airports, which are facing a shortage of employees estimated at 7,200 specialists.
In Spain, at least 10 Ryanair flights and 5 EasyJet flights were canceled, and 175 flights for the two companies were postponed after employees of the two low-cost airlines went on strike in protest at the level of wages and working conditions.
In the same context, the threat of an open strike for pilots of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) - the national airline of Sweden, Denmark and Norway - was postponed again, with negotiations between management and unions extended for the second time.
The airline, which is experiencing problems, said in a statement that "the negotiators decided to postpone the strike again."
The strike deadline - which was set mainly by the unions last Wednesday - was postponed to Saturday, and the deadline has now been extended until the middle of next Monday, despite the possibility of announcing the postponement of other times.
The pilots are protesting against salary cuts demanded by management as part of a restructuring plan aimed at ensuring the continuation of the company, which has suffered losses since the emergence of the Corona virus in early 2020.
In the United States, on Saturday, airlines canceled about 600 flights, and more than 2,200 were delayed due to the shortage of their crews, according to the "Flightware" website, which specializes in tracking air traffic.
The situation was also difficult last Friday, as the site announced that it had monitored the cancellation of 587 flights out of a total of 3,060 canceled flights in the world, with delays of about 8,000 others.
About 600 flights were canceled in the United States and more than 2,200 flights were delayed (French)
Last Thursday, Delta Air Lines pilots went on strike to demand higher wages to compensate for overtime.
These problems are increasingly facing American travelers, as American airlines operate with a difference of 15% compared to the period before the pandemic, and are facing difficulties in dealing with the return of the high demand for travelers on flights.
Airlines confirm that they are working to find a solution to the problem, and are strengthening their campaigns to hire pilots and staff, knowing that the number of seats available to travelers has decreased due to measures to contain Covid-19, and with the exit from the pandemic, the number of flights that exceeds the number of pilots are included.