The British government is speeding up national security checks for new airport workers to address post-pandemic staff shortages that have contributed to chaos for travelers in the UK and across Europe, according to Bloomberg.
The UK has speeded up the vetting process that all new aviation hires must undergo, with accreditation checks completed in around five days on average and counter-terrorism checks taking less than 10 days, according to a press release sent by e-mail from the Ministry of Transport.
The change is intended to help the industry get new employees, such as X-ray examiners, as quickly as possible so it can meet the increase in demand for flights, it said.
British holidaymakers this summer have been treated to scenes of chaos at airports, leaving the airline industry and governments arguing over who is to blame. Social media has been awash with complaints about long queues at security – in some cases leading to missed flights – and piles of lost luggage in London.
Staff shortages were the main cause of the disruption. Companies that laid off workers or lost them to other sectors when planes were grounded during the pandemic are scrambling to fill the void, jeopardizing the budding recovery of Britain’s aviation industry.
Airlines and airports are also facing strikes by workers demanding better pay and working conditions, adding to the disruption. Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport was quieter on Sunday after some workers called off a strike that had seen about a fifth of flights canceled on Friday and Saturday. SAS AB pilots are threatening to strike and talks will resume on Monday.
Ryanair cabin crew in Spain are calling for an extra 12 days of strike action this month, while staff at EasyJet Plc’s bases there began the first of a series of three-day strikes on Friday. The Irish airline expects minimal disruption to flights to and from Spain in July due to the dispute, the carrier said in a statement on Sunday. Less than 1% of Ryanair flights have been affected by the strike so far, the carrier said.