Daily Management Review

IATA Assures That Post-Pandemic Airport Mayhem Will Be Resolved.


IATA Assures That Post-Pandemic Airport Mayhem Will Be Resolved.
A top airline industry official pleaded for calm amid recent travel congestion at several airports as people start flying following the epidemic, blaming the backlog on temporary delays in gaining clearances for new employees.
Long lines have formed at certain British airports, as well as those in Amsterdam, Dublin, and Toronto, as airport administrators struggle to fill vacancies quickly enough.
According to Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association, the time required to obtain security cards for newly employed employees has increased from three to four weeks in the United Kingdom to as much as three months (IATA).
"The problem is, you can't start the training until you've got the security clearance," Walsh told a small group of reporters on the sidelines of a conference on ground operations.
"You offer them a job, they accept it, and then you have to go through this period of three months to get security clearance - they're not going to hang around. They'll go and find a job somewhere else."
The former British Airways and IAG CEO predicted that the pattern would not spread to other regions, but he warned of worsening pilot shortages in the United States.
"I think it needs to be put in perspective; there are issues in some airports, it's not across the world," Walsh said.
"I think it reflects the very significant increase in activity we've seen. It also reflects the fact that we're coming off a very low base. So as airlines and airports try to rebuild, it is challenging for some of them ... It will get addressed."
The pandemic effectively halted international travel as governments around the world restricted admission. However, the loosening of restrictions and bottled-up travel demand have resulted in a sharp increase in short- and medium-haul travels. more info
Walsh downplayed concerns that pent-up demand would be short-lived as inflationary fears and lower discretionary incomes weighed on future trip spending. Some executives have warned of erratic demand this winter.
"Without question, what we're seeing at the moment is very, very strong demand right across the world. It's stronger than we had expected," he said, adding traffic was moving towards reaching 2019 levels in 2023, rather than 2024 as previously forecast.
Oil prices extended their bull run on Tuesday after the EU agreed to a partial and phased ban on Russian oil.
Walsh stated that airlines had previously dealt with oil prices well above $100 per barrel for benchmark Brent, and that these costs will eventually be passed on to consumers.
Because of limited refining capacity, jet fuel costs have risen even faster than oil, although Walsh predicted that the disparity would reduce to more normal levels.
While Europe struggles to meet rising travel demand, Asian airspace remains relatively quiet due to factors including as China's strict COVID-19 control procedures. Air travel in Asia is still only 13 per cent of what it was in 2019, compared to around 50 per cent elsewhere.