Across Europe, there are currently massive flight cancellations and delays due to a lack of staff. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) wants to keep jobs attractive. But how?

In view of the continuing problems in aviation, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke out in favor of “appropriate” payment for staff.

Unattractive wages may be part of the problem, he said in an interview with “Bild TV”. However, solving the personnel problems is the task of the private companies. There is “no way to shape these employment contracts from a political point of view now,” said the minister. “But it is also clear that we must keep these jobs attractive if we as a society do not want to have such problems permanently.”

Lots of flight delays and cancellations

Across Europe, masses of flights are currently being canceled or delayed. In addition to the surprisingly high demand, the industry cites the lack of expert staff as the reason. During the Corona crisis, airports, airlines and service providers cut staff and also lost specialists who were looking for alternative jobs in other sectors. Comparatively low salaries are paid, particularly in ground handling services and in the cabin.

The situation is also tense in travel agencies. In view of flight cancellations and delays, the travel agency association VUSR is demanding compensation for the additional work involved in sales. The travel agencies did “the hard work for the industry and so far free of charge,” said the chairwoman of the Association of Independent Self-employed Travel Agencies (VUSR), Marija Linnhoff, recently to the industry portal “Reise vor 9”. Now “we also have to talk about how our extra work will be remunerated”.

The airlines had been selling flights for months that they were now canceling because they had no staff, Linnhoff said. The shortage of skilled workers has been known for a long time. The stationary sales therefore expect that the airlines will now sit down with all those affected to find a solution that replaces the travel agencies with the additional effort. “Otherwise, if in doubt, we would have to consider suing for this remuneration for our members,” said Linnhoff.

Also left for better working conditions

From the point of view of the left, air traffic can only be brought back on track with higher wages and better conditions at German airports. “If you want to fight the chaos, then that means good working conditions for the employees, then that means collective bargaining, no more temporary work and temporary employment, because that’s the only way to win back employees,” said Left Party chairwoman Janine Wissler in Berlin.

Hiring workers abroad for services like baggage handling or security screening is not a solution, she added. The staff recruited there would first have to undergo a security check, which would take weeks. In the short term, these people could not be hired.

Wissler emphasized that security tasks such as airport controls should remain in the hands of the state and not be given to private companies. She referred to Bavaria, which had founded a security company for this. That was “a very good example,” praised the left-wing politician.