It was probably air transport that suffered the most from the COVID restrictions. Now that life has more or less come back to normal, another serious issue emerged: labour shortages.
Pénzcentrum asked Budapest Airport and Wizz Air about how they were trying to improve the situation, as well as what kind of salary workers could expect.
In the last few weeks, the number of flight delays and cancellations has increased significantly. However, not only Budapest Airport is affected. As we have written before, due to the chaos in Western Europe, many flights had to be cancelled. Moreover, in addition to the lack of ground staff, there are problems with luggage transportation all over the world. In their statement, Budapest Airport emphasised that the problem was not caused by the increase in the number of passengers, but by the heavy traffic periods. That is when many planes arrive and take off at the same time. In such cases, it is difficult to perform the tasks on the ground that are most affected by the labour shortage: check-in, baggage loading and delivery.
In these desperate times, the question comes to mind: how much is the airport willing to pay its workers? Passenger and baggage screeners as well as staff working in operations and information earn the highest starting salary. They receive HUF 404,300 (EUR 994,56) gross wage which is HUF 268,000 (659,27 EUR) net. In addition, the porter and baggage car coordinators earn HUF 345,000 (EUR 848,69) gross salary per month which is HUF 229,000 (EUR 563,33) net. However, this salary might not be competitive enough. Bus drivers in Budapest are promised HUF 434,000 (EUR 1067,62) net, while garbage collectors can earn up to HUF 450,000 (EUR 1106,98).
“The severe labor shortage experienced at European airports primarily affects ground handling companies – who, among other things, carry out check-in, baggage loading and delivery, which can cause serious disruptions in the servicing and management of flights.” – explains Budapest Airport. This is accompanied by further labor shortages at airlines and strikes affecting the whole air travel industry. However, Budapest Airport emphasised that they are prepared for the summer season in terms of human resources.
“The waiting time during the passenger security check is still 10 minutes, our goal is to keep it around 15-20 minutes even in the heavy summer season, which is still below international standards.”
In June, 68% of flights departed on time or maximum 30 minutes late. In addition, 98% of flight delays were caused by reasons beyond the competence of Budapest Airport (e.g. reasons related to traffic diversion or airlines, delays in arriving flights). In general, 10-15 departing flights were canceled per week in June for airline operational reasons. Budapest Airport said that they do not have accurate information about the reasons for flight cancellations, those are the responsibility of the airlines.