Business Travel Show Europe is the place where
September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Travellers flying out of Gatwick airport this weekend face long luggage collection delays because of a critical shortage of staff at baggage handlers firm Swissport, airlines have warned.
According to The Telegraph some travellers may have to depart without their luggage as Swissport doesn’t have enough workers to unload and load planes. It also claims airlines have warned the situation could worsen over the next few months as they are tied into contracts with Swissport.
It’s understood the problem is worse at weekends as a lot of staff are on zero-hours contracts and don’t want to work outside normal office hours.
This weekend is expected to be one of the busiest of the year as people leave the UK for their ‘summer getaway’.
Gatwick has confirmed it will offer free baggage home delivery services for those affected by the delays.
In a statement the airport has said while Swissport is directly employed by the airlines to provide ground handling services, the airport has been “supplementing their staff by 25 per cent” to assist with baggage delivery.
"Gatwick will continue to carefully monitor Swissport's performance and offer assistance to them as required over the remainder of the summer to minimise the impact on passengers and safeguard our expected level service,” an airport spokesperson said.
Last weekend, passengers arriving at Gatwick’s south terminal faced long delays in collecting their baggage, with some reportedly waiting up to three hours.
After those problems Swissport issued a statement: “Despite having already increased our resources to support the off schedule activity we were still unable to fully accommodate the handling of off-schedule arriving aircraft during this period. This resulted in the long baggage delivery times experienced by passengers.
The company added: “Swissport will continue to work closely with all its business partners to minimise any inconvenience to passengers during any times of future schedule disruption.”
The firm handles baggage at most of Britain’s major airports including Heathrow, Luton, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Monarch Airlines, which operates services to dozens of Gatwick destinations from Gatwick, has terminated its contract with Swissport and will wait for the 120-day notice period to expire before moving to a new contractor. Other airlines are also considering pulling out of their contracts, it’s claimed.