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Two thirds of European airports will be hellscapes this summer

Due to staff shortages and a spike in demand, passengers are set to face huge delays

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Following the aviation industry’s Easter holiday fiasco, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the worst of the post-pandemic issues at airports had passed. But you’d be wrong.

In recent days, the UK’s Birmingham airport has reportedly seen airport queues of more than a kilometre in length, while both Manchester and Amsterdam Schiphol have also reported nightmarishly lengthy waiting times at check-in, security and baggage collection. Huge problems continue as airports and airlines struggle to meet demand for travel after the lowering of testing restrictions earlier in the year.

When aviation industry bosses warned that disruption could last well until into the summer, it appears they really weren’t joking. And now a new study has found that delays could not only last that long, but also affect airports across all of Europe.

According to data from Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, two thirds of airports across the continent expect the number of flight delays to increase over the summer. Meanwhile, just over a third reckon they’ll be suffering from staff shortages throughout the next few months and beyond.

So why are these problems persisting for so long? Well, when plane travel was brought to a standstill in the pandemic, airlines and airports made loads of staff redundant. After demand for travel picked up again, much of the industry was unprepared for such high passenger numbers, causing lengthy queues and loads of cancelled flights.

To make matters worse, due to more thorough security checks, recruitment in aviation takes much longer than in other industries.

In other words, we could all be in for a pretty frustrating summer. If you’re jetting off on hols in the next few months, be sure to check all your flight info in advance, and get down to the airport as early as possible.

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