Switzerland canceled about 100 flights in July and August – in part due to a staff shortage. Unions and recruiters are sounding the alarm about staff shortages and the summer vacation period.
Shock for flight passengers shortly before the summer holidays: the Swiss airline announced that about 100 flights will be canceled in July and August – 2% of all passengers who have booked a Swiss flight in these months are affected. Among other things, the destination Nuremberg will be completely removed from the itinerary from June to October, and there will be frequency reductions on individual short routes such as Gdansk, Warsaw and Dresden.
The reason for this are bottlenecks in resources and personnel in the entire airline industry, says Oliver Buchover, head of operations in Switzerland. At Swiss, cabin crew are particularly affected. “In January, we only did part of our flight programme. The intensification presents significant operational challenges ahead.”
Strong criticism from the union of workers on the ground
For Philip Hadorn, president of the SEV-Gata field personnel union, it is clear that the Swiss administration miscalculated. “In the Corona crisis, despite government support, the “mass” people who are now lost have been laid off. Therefore, working conditions must be urgently improved and the CLA crisis should not be applied to field personnel.
In general, prospects must be shown to employees so that decent hiring takes place, Hadorn says.
The Swiss defends himself against the allegations
Oliver Buchhofer does not accept this accusation of miscalculation by the administration. Six months ago they were still busy with Omikron and maintained a flight program that is a fraction of current flights. “Of course, you can do certain things differently in hindsight, but we have to work with the framework conditions that affect us at the moment,” Buchhofer explains.
Since the beginning of the year, Swiss has also hired employees again. “We have seasonal fluctuations in the status of application, but we are fundamentally confident that conditions will remain attractive,” Buchover responds to allegations of poor working conditions by unions.
The recruitment company confirms the shortage of employees
Eve Shenoly is Chief Commercial Officer at Coople, which operates a digital platform for hiring flexible employees. Among other things, the company recruits employees to sort baggage, unload and load aircraft as well as check-in. For Schnowley, the first signs of an impending shortage of field staff were already evident in the second half of 2021. “It became clear that the 2022 season would not be an easy task, especially in terms of staff,” wrote Schnolly when asked by the SRF.
It has become clear that the 2022 season will not be easy, especially in terms of the workers.
In fact, it is assumed that existing employees will reach their maximum capacity during the peak travel season at the start of summer vacation. “This is why the recruitment and training process is currently in full swing – given the six to eight weeks it takes on average to prepare an employee for work at the airport,” explains Shenoly.
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