Staff shortages at UK airports could prolong travel recovery


Staff shortages at UK airports could prolong travel recovery

Manchester Airports Group has significantly increased the number of active jobs available on its career pages, with open positions increasing from 65 in December to 110 in February, according to GlobalData. However, the leading data and analytics company notes that only 36 positions were closed in this period – an ominous sign of things to come with international trips set to dramatically increase in April.

The peak season for holidays in the UK is fast approaching. According to GlobalData, total domestic and outbound visits in August from the UK are projected to be more than double the total number of visits in April. If staff shortages are not addressed by the peak of the summer season in airports such as Manchester Airport and London Stansted Airport, the impact could be calamitous for the UK’s airport and airline sectors, and the wider tourism industry.

Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Staff shortages could remain a problem for several months as airports scramble to match employment levels with demand. When travel came to a standstill during the pandemic, many airport employees left their positions to work in other industries. Stories of unruly passengers, often long commute times, and job uncertainty, as seen with COVID-19, could be off-putting for many currently seeking work.”

The coming months will be challenging for UK airports and airlines. A lack of staff in key positions could create an array of knock-on impacts, including missed flights, cancelations, and negative traveler sentiment, all of which could prolong recovery.

Hollister adds: “A lack of employees in key roles, such as those involving security, are key contributors to the long queues causing flights to be missed and passenger experiences to turn sour. It’s now up to airport companies to improve their recruitment strategies and make working in an airport an attractive proposition However, lengthy vetting procedures and training processes involved for these positions means the issue with long queues will not vanish overnight.”

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