What is causing staff shortages in UK Airports?
There is no getting around the fact that the UK aviation industry is experiencing massive delays and staff shortages. As a result of the pandemic many aviation businesses, including airlines, ground-based operations and airports are struggling to find and recruit the staff that they need to meet their capacity and security requirements. Airlines that have been under scrutiny are the likes of easyjet and TUI after staff shortages caused long delays for travelers.
The question is: what are the main causes of these staff shortages? The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the travel industry as holidays were banned and strict entry rules were brought in at peak periods. As a result, the aviation industry was forced to cut its workforces including cabin crew, pilots, ground-operations and other employees. An article from the BBC stated that an astonishing 30,000 members of staff have been laid off from UK airlines alone over the past 2 years. Now those aviation businesses that cut to the bone have been unable to recruit fast enough after the government suddenly lifted all travel restrictions in March, fueling a surge in booking.
All of this has created a domino effect in the aviation industry as airlines and airports are unprepared for the volume of demand. They are massively understaffed across a number of key operational areas, such as flight crew, airport security screeners, and ground/baggage handlers.
Another covid related cause is staff illnesses, while isolation is no longer a requirement in the UK, airlines and airports are still being hit by staff shortages due to covid related illnesses making valuable staff stay home. However it is not just illnesses that are causing the staff shortages.
The aviation industry is experiencing a skills shortage. Easyjet CEO Johan Lundgren revealed that his company rejected 8,000 employment applications from European Union citizens because they did not have the right to work in the UK. Companies have had to rely on a narrower pool of candidates as the UK labour market currently has a record number of available vacancies and the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years.
What can be done to help the aviation industry recruit more staff?
The government has stepped in to ease chaos at the airports, with transport secretary Grant Shapps saying aviation recruits will be able to begin training before passing security checks. He told the Commons’ Transport Select Committee in April: “I have looked at the rules and found an area where we can assist with the bureaucracy, particularly with regard to new people coming into the industry, and their need to be security checked.”
He carried on to say “We can begin the training, without exposing them to the parts of the training which are security-related, without having the security check complete, as long as it’s complete before they start the security-related stuff”.
How can VettingGateway help?
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The information Provided by VettingGateway in this blog was published on the 21/04/2022, all information was relevant at the time of publishing however as our landscape is forever changing this information may not remain valid.
*Average 21 day turnaround for aviation background checks correct as of 01/04/2022