BusinessWorld

Airports have always had trouble attracting workers. Expect longer lines for a while, experts say.

The labor shortage got so bad last month that an airport manager had to ask his shops and restaurants not to steal each other’s employees.
The Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport labor shortage got so severe last month that one of its top managers sent a message to shops and restaurants: don’t steal other people’s employees.

“As you know, we are experiencing one of the greatest hiring challenges in the history of DFW Airport,” wrote Ken Buchanan, Executive Vice President of Revenue Management and Customer Experience, in a CNBC-audited letter dated May 27th the dealers. “As we prepare for a busy summer, please continue to practice the high standards of DFW airport recruiting operations and refrain from recruiting (‘poaching’) staff from other DFW operations.

After more than a year of bans due to the coronavirus pandemic, travelers leaving home to go on vacation faced long security lines, hours of waiting at airlines, and fewer options at the airport for everything from coffee to sandwiches to understaffed.
The Transportation Security Administration is offering a $ 1,000 hiring bonus as part of its efforts to hire 6,000 testers by the end of September. So far, around 4,000 employees have been hired, said a TSA spokeswoman. Austin, Texas airports; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Charlotte, North Carolina, have urged travelers to arrive up to three hours early in the past few weeks due to long security lines.

Some airlines, which received $ 54 billion in federal pay slips to deter workers from laying off workers, are now looking to hire people to fill phone lines and other parts of the business. The airlines urged employees to make temporary licenses or acquisitions during the pandemic to reduce costs. American recently cut its schedule 1 percent for the first half of July due to a staff shortage.

According to the Department of Labor’s monthly report, the United States’s recreational and hospitality jobs rose 292,000 last month, more than half of May’s earned income. Almost two thirds of the growth in employment in the sectors came from catering establishments.

The national trend that has challenged managers in filling these types of jobs is even more acute in many airports.

Potential workers willing to undergo a state security check, which can take more than two weeks, and travel to the airport to make hamburgers or sell magazines, cost extra if they can find them at all.

“Airports have great difficulty getting people to go to the airport to work, even in normal times,” said Earl Heffintrayer, senior airport analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

The strong rebound after a year of falling demand has created a struggle for workers.

Employers “cut a lot of jobs [last year] and suddenly want to hire a lot. Many employers are trying to hire at the same time, “said Ioana Marinescu, assistant professor of public policy at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied the effects of stimulus controls during the pandemic. “The group of workers is practically constant, while the number of employers trying to hire keeps growing and growing.”

Airport TSA controls have rebounded to around 80 percent from 2019 levels, a sharp change from last year when U.S. passenger traffic fell to its lowest level since 1984 labor shortages, Moody’s Heffintrayer told. That includes $ 8 billion in airport grants announced by the Federal Aviation Administration last week, of which $ 800 million was earmarked for rental facilities for airport retailers and food and beverage operators.

Airports Council International estimates that US airports will lose $ 40 billion in revenue through March 2022 due to the pandemic.

“There is definitely money on the table,” said Heffintrayer of the impact of the airport worker shortage. Food and beverage terminal and retail outlet concessions contributed approximately 7 percent to nearly $ 25 billion in U.S. commercial airport operating revenues in 2019.

Gilbert Aranza, say

Back to top button