Aviation

UK airlines and airports try to hire staff when travel takes off again | Airline

Do you not care about height, do you know how to swim, do not have visible tattoos, height above 5 feet 2 inches or have unusually long arms and can survive on 16 thousand pounds a year? Then there is a pretty good chance that you need an airline.

Crew – these are just some of the roles that the aviation sector is desperately trying to fulfill after returning from Covid. Employees were fired en masse because of the pandemic and flights were suspended British Airways only lost 10,000 people.

Now those aviation companies that have shrunk to the bone have been unable to recruit quickly enough after the government abruptly lifted all travel restrictions in March, sparking a surge in bookings.

At the more glamorous end of aviation, there is still no shortage of contenders: BA holds wing ceremonies almost daily, at which newly qualified crews are presented with silver winged badges.

21-year-old Natasha Dix from Swindon is one of those who made her way on her first flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh earlier this month. She first applied in 2019, but was postponed when Covid arrived, and instead went to work in the hotel business. This time she got a call from B.A.

Five and a half weeks of training included an imitation of an emergency evacuation – “People were shouting, who are you, what are you? I didn’t have time to put on my yellow cape, and they thought I was a sham passenger, ”before Dix and her cohort of 12 interns got wings in front of friends and family at the BA Museum at his Waterside headquarters. Heathrow.

For her, the long wait was: “It’s my dream job – I’ve always wanted to do it.” But other parts of the air force are beginning to realize that loyal employees are hard to find – especially in more thankless tasks such as airport security.

New employee of the BA cabin crew Natasha Dix. Photo: British Airways

Lack of staff, which led to chaotic scenes in the departure halls for Easter keep playing. Last week, Manchester Airport was still struggling with 90-minute security queues, while Birmingham International forced passengers to wait near its terminals so they could determine which queue was which. During the pandemic, Midlands Airport laid off almost half of its staff.

Both are in the midst of training new security officers – and, like virtually all airlines and airports, have struggled with recruitment. However, they have evolved into a much tougher job market – and by paying staff to leave it, many businesses are now forced to offer incentives to bring them back.

BA offers £ 1,000 entry bonuses for “below the wing” vacancies in ground handling positions, while Gatwick’s onshore handlers, employed by firms such as DHL, Menzies and Swissport, have secured a 10% pay rise.

Sharon Graham, secretary general of Unite, which negotiated the deal, said the union had “consistently warned aviation employers that if they don’t tackle poor wages and conditions in the sector, they will struggle to recruit and retain the workers they need.” Other sectors, such as logistics, retail and warehousing, have also struggled to find staff, also attracting former aviation workers with better pay and more friendly hours during the pandemic.

Security checks have delayed and complicated recruitment. Those who work at airports in sensitive roles need a five-year employment history – it’s no longer easy when many have been driven into the concert economy or worked for firms that may have collapsed in a blocking mode. Many applicants – either with better bids or with too little money to wait – went elsewhere before the process was completed.

Manchester Airport says more than 500 people are currently undergoing security screening and training, although only 200 newcomers were expected this month.

Brexit is also a factor: the roles of the cabin crew in Lutan were once advertised and recruited directly from places like Madrid. Now such as easyJet, who fish in a smaller pool to work in the UK, are increasingly sensitive to the poaching of skilled crews and offer a bonus for saving those who are waiting for summer.

While airlines are increasing the number of employees waiting for customers, airports are less confident: Heathrow says the current hustle and bustle is a hustle and bustle, and does not want to expand too fast, despite recruiting another 1,000 employees.

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Heathrow argues that customers still enjoy credit notes or vouchers from canceled trips, and delayed demand from two years of travel is contributing to a temporary boom. This is unlikely to continue, as risks to demand for flights include a recession in the UK, the full effect of rising fuel prices and the cost of living in the future, and Covid is far from eliminated.

This position has provoked a fierce quarrel with airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and BA, which accuse them of reducing their space for operation, while increasing the landing fee they pay, amid a gloomy forecast.

However, without staff – either their own or the airport – airlines have to cut their wings. EasyJet has taken the extraordinary step of physically separating the seats from its aircraft to allow them to fly with fewer crews in line with UK rules – and British Airways has canceled 10% of flights by the end of October. Perennial employees who have been abandoned in bad times can be hard to sympathize with.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/13/uk-airlines-and-airports-scramble-to-hire-staff-as-travel-takes-off-again UK airlines and airports try to hire staff when travel takes off again | Airline

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