Australian airline Qantas has asked its top executives to work as baggage handlers at airports, handling baggage for three months.
This is an attempt to buy time to resolve the severe labor shortage it faces in this area.
The company’s chief operating officer revealed that it is looking for at least 100 volunteers to work at the Sydney and Melbourne airports.
Tasks include load and unload suitcasesas well as driving vehicles to move luggage through the terminals.
Like much of the global airline industry, Qantas is struggling to resume services as borders reopen.
“High levels of winter flu and an increase in Covid-19 in the community, coupled with tight labor markets, make resourcing challenging across our industry,” director Qantas operations manager Colin Hughes via email.
Leading by example from above
Hughes, in his communication, assured that the company “does not expect” executives to exercise these functions alongside theirs full time.
Managers and executives who agree to work as baggage handlers will do so for three to five days a week, in shifts of four to six hours a day.
However, not everyone can act as a porter and the company wants applicants to be in good physical condition, as they must be able to move suitcases weighing up to 32kg each.
“It is clear to us that our performance has not met our customers’ expectations or the standards we expect of ourselves, although we have been doing everything we can to improve our features,” a Qantas spokesman told the BBC.
“As we did in the previous peak season, around 200 head office employees have been helping out at the airports during the busiest periods since Easter,” he added.
paying the consequences
Qantas was one of the airlines most affected by the pandemic and the confinements imposed to stop it, which resulted in the closure of borders between countries and the paralysis of commercial flights.
To deal with the costs of the restrictions, the industry laid off thousands of employees, many of whom were ground crews.
In November 2020, Qantas outsourced more than two.000 people to work on Eartha measure that, together with job cuts, sought to alleviate its financial losses.
In July, the airline apologized after passengers complained about delays and lost luggage.
Australia had one of the strictest Covid-19 travel restrictions in the world, even for its own citizens, only beginning to lift controls in November 2021.
As measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus have eased around the world, Qantas and other major airlines have struggled to resume their services to the pre-pandemic scale.
A situation has been taking place in the United Kingdom, where flights have been delayed or canceled for months, especially during the holidays. The shortage of porters has contributed to the accumulation of luggage in the terminals.
Airports, including Heathrow, which is the country’s largest and busiest, have capped the number of daily passengers during the summer to help manage demand.
This has led some airlines to suspend ticket sales for certain routes.
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