A shortage of qualified staff could put aviation safety under pressure this summer, warns the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in a safety bulletin.
The industry lost many employees during the Covid-19 pandemic. Too few staff were then available to manage the flow of passengers when demand for international air travel increased rapidly last year. Airlines, airports, air traffic controllers and maintenance companies are still struggling to find enough qualified staff this year, notes EASA.
This problem affects cabin crew, experienced pilots, but also ground technicians and baggage handlers in particular. This can lead to burnout among the available staff, especially if airlines continue to sell too many tickets and workloads remain high.
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As of yet, EASA has not witnessed any acute safety problems, but the agency has already noticed signs of major disruptions in April and May. Among other things, it cites a shortage of spare parts or aircraft, which increases the pressure on aircraft in operation.
Last year, in an interview with The Brussels Times, the European Cockpit Association (ECA) expressed concerns that airlines had put profit before air safety in the busy summer period. With resources once again stretched thin, and demand for flights at pre-Covid levels, these concerns are once again becoming significant.
The EASA is asking all companies and organisations in the aviation sector to identify potential safety risks as a result of the shortage of personnel and equipment. EASA is also urging airline staff to maintain a “positive safety culture”.