May 28, 2023

News 24a

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After massive layoffs during the pandemic, airlines are hiring. Huge delays at Otopeni Airport

Try not to get upset if you plan to travel by plane in the coming period, including the holidays. After 2 years of the pandemic, the aviation industry has not recovered.

Due to the lack of staff, flights are delayed and in some cases, airlines cancel their flights. The biggest problems are in the boarding area, where queues form. Furthermore, the authorities recommend passengers to go 3 hours before boarding.

Almost one million passengers arrived at Otopeni airport in October of this year. Most of them stood in line.

The biggest problems remain in the check-in area, where the shortage of personnel is high. Practically during the pandemic there were massive layoffs, people had to reorient themselves, and now no one has come to replace them. Handling companies have lost hundreds and the hiring in the last year is just a drop in the ocean.

In the last week, at Otopeni airport, 226 flights were delayed for more than 60 minutes. For 70 percent of these, airlines reported aircraft rotation or crew shortages as the cause. There were also canceled flights, 6 in number, due to technical problems, but also due to a strike that took place at certain airports, bound for Italy.

At the European level, the average number of canceled flights was 6 percent, and airport representatives say that the situation will not change for the better soon. This despite the fact that the personnel control period was reduced from 3 months to 45 days at the request of the European authorities. But there are other problems.

David Ciceo, director of Avram Iancu Airport in Cluj-Napoca: “An important reason is the delay in the delivery of new aircraft and at Boeing and Airbus, many airlines have relied on aircraft being delivered.”

Airlines say they are hiring, but they still don’t have enough staff. Ryanair, for example, is looking for engineers, aviation mechanics or logistics staff, while WIZZ AIR has hired over 300 people from Romania alone, including pilots. The operator needs staff to work at the Otopeni and Suceava airports.

Andras Rado, Senior Cabin Crew Recruitment Manager, Wizz Air: “We see that there is a shortage of personnel in the industry and we will do everything in our power to recruit even more people from Romania.”

Instead, TAROM is in a restructuring process, according to the plan requested by the European Commission. The only hires made were in the technical area, although the state operator also needs pilots.

Marius Popescu, TAROM spokesperson: “The only jobs we currently operate are in the flight operations department, and we are referring to pilots for ATR aircraft and co-pilots for Airbus aircraft, but we are not talking about jobs with an indefinite duration, but of a fixed duration.”

On the other hand, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis made plane tickets more expensive by 40 percent.

Traian Bădulescu, tourism consultant: “Probably we won’t have those ultra special offers anymore, especially with low-cost companies – 1 euro, 10 euro for the flight, but it also depends a lot on the period in which you book.”

Because the demand has decreased, certain destinations have disappeared. For example, Tarom no longer flies to Barcelona and Vienna.

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