To avert the airport chaos in the middle of the main travel season, the federal government wants to make it easier for foreign helpers to enter the country and “if necessary” also deploy more federal police.

There is a lack of staff for ground handling and security checks, as Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said at the joint press conference with Heil and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD). According to a study by the German Economic Institute, there is currently a shortage of around 7,200 skilled workers. The airport operators have therefore asked the government for help.

Faeser said, “we make it possible for companies to deploy forces from abroad, including Turkey.” The federal police should support the security checks at the airports “if necessary”. The federal police are responsible for the controls, but have mostly outsourced the task to private service providers.

The general manager of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Verkehrsflughäfen (ADV), Ralph Beisel, expressed in the RBB “very grateful” for the government’s help. “We can’t get any workers on the labor market in Germany,” he said. “It is hard to believe.” For workers from abroad, an examination by the Federal Employment Agency is necessary – whether there is a domestic applicant – as well as a security check. Both will now be done “accelerated”.

Minister of Labor Heil emphasized that the government will ensure that temporary workers from abroad are paid according to tariffs. And “we expect people to be housed humanely.” It was a temporary measure, not a permanent solution, he said.

The government’s initiative “does not absolve companies of short and long-term responsibility”. The industry’s original wish was to allow temporary work – “we won’t do that,” said Heil. He warned companies that it was their job to ensure “that they are attractive employers”.

The chairman of the federal police union, Heiko Teggatz, told the “Handelsblatt”: “If the employees in the security areas at the airport were offered a crisis-proof and well-paid job, we would no longer have such problems in the long term.” The mobility expert from the Federal Association of Consumers, Marion Jungbluth, also told the newspaper: “It takes revenge on the services and the service on the ground and in the air alone the economy mantra applied to make flying cheap.”

Be at the airport two and a half hours before departure

Teggatz and Jungbluth called for a reorganization of aviation security tasks. A semi-state aviation security company at the federal level with the participation of the federal states is necessary, which is exclusively responsible for the personnel.

Jungbluth criticized that the federal government had looked at the flight chaos “far too long”. It’s finally going to be a top priority. Representatives of the major airports and the federal police also wanted to discuss the problems at a meeting on Wednesday. Beisel emphasized that it was a “routine meeting”, not a crisis meeting.

“I regret that the airports cannot consistently keep their service promises,” he added. However: 95 percent of travelers would also “continue to have a nice travel experience”.

Beisel recommended getting to the airport two and a half hours before departure. 30 to 45 minutes should be planned for the security check – “these are the times that we are aiming for”.

The pilots’ association Cockpit expects “the situation to normalize at the earliest in winter,” as board member Matthias Baier told the “Rheinische Post”. He also called for better working conditions.