Heathrow and Schiphol face up to a difficult summer

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Two of Europe’s largest cargo hubs are facing a difficult few months as Heathrow faces possible strike action from staff at British Airways (BA) and airlines are asked to scrap flights at Schiphol.

In the Netherlands, Schiphol Airport has limited the number of passengers it can handle due to staff shortages. As a result, airlines have been asked to cancel flights.

“A tight labour market has led to there being too few security employees to perform the necessary checks on all the travellers wanting to fly this summer,” the airport said.

The consequences of the staff shortage varies by day, but in the outlook for July 7-30, there are 13,500 seats on average too many each day relative to security capacity.

KLM said it was complying with Schiphol’s requests to scrap flights and voluntarily slow down ticket sales.

Transavia said that it would cancel around 240 flights from the airport between July 7 and August 14.

While the issue is not directly a cargo related, it has clear impact on bellyhold operations from the airport.

The disruption comes as the airport is also looking to increase prices, with airlines suggesting the increase will result in carriers relocating.

The airport plans to increase prices by 9% in 2023, 12% in 2024 and 12% in 2025 for both passenger and freighter aircraft as it looks to recover pandemic related losses.

Heathrow’s BA strikes

Meanwhile, British Airways ground and check in workers at Heathrow voted in favour of strike action during the peak summer period in a row of pay.

The Unite and GMB unions that represent workers say the airline cut pay by around 10% during the pandemic but now refuses to reinstate the reduction.

“The problems British Airways is facing are entirely of its own making. It brutally cut jobs and pay during the pandemic even though the government was paying them to save jobs,” Unite said.

“In the case of this dispute, they have insulted this workforce, slashing pay by 10% only to restore it to managers but not to our members.”

British Airways said it had offered a one-off 10% payment.

It told the Guardian newspaper that “despite the extremely challenging environment and losses of more than £4bn, we made an offer of a 10% payment which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues.

“We are fully committed to work together to find a solution, because to deliver for our customers and rebuild our business we have to work as a team.”

Unite said dates for strike action would be announced over the coming days unless an agreement can be reached.

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]