There is currently chaos at many German airports — mainly due to a lack of staff. The federal government now wants to combat this with concerted action by several ministries.

Long queues at check-in and security checkpoints, flights that are canceled at short notice, suitcases left on the tarmac: those who want to travel by plane in Germany at the moment need strong nerves. The main reason for this is the tight staffing situation at the airports (read our current cover story). The federal government now wants to alleviate the chaos with the possibility of temporarily hiring foreign workers, as Labor Minister Hubertus Heil told the “Bild am Sonntag”. “We want to rule out any form of social dumping and exploitation,” assured the SPD politician. Employers must pay collective wages and provide decent accommodation for a limited period of time.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke in the newspaper of an action coordinated with Heil and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), with which the staff shortages at German airports were to be “remedied and a temporary solution presented”. Faeser added: “We will make it possible for helpers from abroad to be used, for example, for baggage handling.” The following applies: “There are no compromises when it comes to safety.”

Citing government circles, the “BamS” wrote that the aim was to get a four-digit number of skilled workers from Turkey, who could at best be deployed for a few months from July.

German airports are missing 7,200 skilled workers

Shortly before the start of the main holiday season, Lufthansa, for example, announced that it would be canceling a total of almost 3,000 flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs because more crews were reporting sick due to corona cases. The reason is in particular a lack of staff not only at the airline itself, but also at the airports, for example at security checks. According to a study by the German Economic Institute (IW), around 7,200 skilled workers are currently lacking at German airports. Because of the corona pandemic, a lot of staff was cut, and numerous employees have now reoriented themselves.

Wissing assigned responsibility for the chaotic conditions at the airports to the companies. “The federal government is not responsible for the personnel policy of the airport companies and airlines,” he said. The Federal Ministry of Transport is responsible for air traffic control and the coordination of flight operations. “And everything runs smoothly there.”

Federal Consumer Protection Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) demanded that the airlines deal fairly with their customers and actively provide information about claims, such as compensation. “I expect the airlines to meet their legal obligations and meet the legitimate claims of passengers quickly and unbureaucratically,” she told BamS.