Ryanair boss accuses airports of failing to do their "one job" - recruiting enough staff

A Ryanair boss has blamed airports for holiday travel chaos, accusing them of failing to recruit enough staff to cope with the number of passengers.

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The budget airline’s chief financial officer Neil Sorahan said: “They had one job to do to and that was to make sure they have sufficient handlers and security staff. They had the schedules months in advance.

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"We managed to staff up for 73 additional aircraft well in advance and it's incumbent on the airports to get their planning better next year."

Travellers have faced disruption, delays and cancellations in recent weeks amid a surge in demand for flights after the pandemic. A shortage of baggage handlers at Edinburgh Airport saw passengers complaining they had to wait hours to be able to collect their luggage.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Sorahan said Ryanair was "fully staffed" and operating more than 3,000 flights a day.

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Ryanair said it remained confident it could operate almost 100 per cent of its scheduled flights, while minimising delays and disruptions for passengers.

Edinburgh Airport said it had recruited security staff. Handling agents were not the airport’s responsibility and airport staff had been helping out with moving bags.

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Police were seen at Edinburgh Airport's baggage reclaim area trying to manage the situation.

The travel industry shed thousands of jobs during the pandemic and it has had problems trying to recruit, train and security-check new staff quickly enough for the summer surge. Airlines have also been criticised for taking more bookings than they can manage.

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The Evening News has reported how frustrated passengers at Edinburgh Airport have been waiting up to three hours for their luggage, with a tannoy announcement saying the delays were due to staffing issues with airline handling companies. Police were pictured at the baggage collection area in an attempt to manage the situation.

And last week airport handlers Swissport set up a temporary baggage facility at the Royal Highland Centre where passengers who have lost luggage can go in a bid to recover it.

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Figures from air travel consultants OAG show Ryanair has suffered far less disruption than many major European airlines in the first six months of 2022, cancelling just 0.3 per cent of flights, compared with British Airways' 3.5 per cent and EasyJet's 2.8 per cent.

Some frustrated passengers had to wait hours to get their luggage.
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An Edinburgh Airport spokesperson said: "Just as not all airlines are the same, not all airports are the same. At Edinburgh Airport we have now recruited a full complement of security staff. Although we know there is work to be done, our teams have been working incredibly hard and we are satisfied with the way this part of the operation has been running. We share regular security queue times on social media so passengers know what to expect, and we continue to ask them to help us by ensuring they are prepared for security.

"Separate to this, in recent weeks there have been some issues around delayed or late arriving baggage. Baggage is the responsibility of airlines' contracted handling agents and while handling agents are facing some recruitment difficulties we know they are working hard to ensure bags are repatriated with passengers in a timely fashion.

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"We've been allocating some of our own resources to help them through these challenges and we will continue to provide support where we can."

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