Due to a labour crisis, Australia’s national airline, Qantas Airways, has requested senior executives to work as luggage handlers at the Sydney and Melbourne airports for three months.
Qantas Airline staff shortage
At least 100 volunteers are needed, according to the chief of operations for the airline, to help with tasks including loading and unloading baggage and operating luggage carts between terminals. A message to managers states that volunteers must be able to work four- or six-hour shifts, three or five days per week, and handle baggage weighing up to 71 pounds.
About 200 staff members from the head office offered their services to temporarily replace overworked ground crews after Qantas issued a similar call for assistance over the Easter holiday season.
Qantas’ domestic and international CEO, Andrew David, stated last month that the company has recently hired more than 1,000 people, rostered more people on stand-by, combined flights onto larger aircraft, based more customer support team members at our airports, and increased the number of call-center staff by a factor of two.
The airline with the kangaroo logo has been Australia’s least dependable airline for the last few months. Data from FlightAware shows that on Sunday, 5% of Qantas flights were cancelled and 19% of them delayed.
However, that was a much better performance than many North American airlines. On Sunday, Air Canada and JetBlue both delayed 55% and 51% of their flights. 37 percent of flights for passengers flying with Allegiant or Southwest were delayed. Additionally, 32% of United’s flights yesterday were late, almost a third of them.
The seriousness of the current global labour shortage that has afflicted the airline sector is highlighted by Qantas’s plea for volunteers for ground workers.
Lufthansa Airline staff on strike
Last month, labour strikes prompted Lufthansa, the national airline of Germany, to cancel more than 1,000 flights. Additionally, in a first, London’s Heathrow Airport set a passenger limit and urged airlines to stop selling seats during the summer.
New Refund policy for flight delay
When there are airline delays, the Biden administration in the US has campaigned for better consumer safeguards for travellers.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg suggested that a delay of at least three hours for a domestic flight and at least six hours for an international flight should qualify for reimbursement from airlines. A bill that would mandate airlines to provide passengers a full cash refund within 30 days if their flight is cancelled or considerably delayed less than 48 hours before departure was introduced by Democratic members of Congress the previous week.
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