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‘Acute’ shortage of talent identified as cause of disruption in Amadeus report

A talent deficit in aviation exacerbated by COVID has been identified as one of the main factors behind on-going operational disruption as demand returned strongly after the pandemic.

European technology giant Amadeus issued a new report today looking at how airlines, airports and regulators can work more collaboratively to tackle disruption.

The report is based on a survey of industry employees as well as in-depth interviews with senior executives from airlines and airports.

Better together: rethinking how to manage disruption in aviation’ concludes that historical barriers that have prevented collaboration are coming down and new approaches to technology are heralding a more hassle-free future for air travel.

Assessing the current state of disruption management, the report says airlines were forced to quickly adapt to changing market dynamics by re-evaluating routes and schedules.

It found that according in Infare, a firm that tracks schedule changes, the volume of changes in 2023 remain around three times higher than pre-pandemic 2019.

Causes cited include bad weather, the rapid return of demand after borders re-opened, and skills shortages.

“Most interviewees for this report cited difficulties with staff retention and recruitment, “ the report states. Many skilled employees left the industry in recent years, and it naturally takes time to train new staff.

“This issues is particularly relevant for disruption management as there is arguably an overreliance on skilled professionals. A lack of automation, decision-support and collaborative platform technologies mean phone calls between these skilled people tend to underpin the disruption response.”

Harry Grewal director of infrastructure and customer experience at global industry body IATA, said: “We experience a significant loss of talent across the industry, and this has elongated the recovery.

“In 2022 airlines struggled with supply and staffing issues, but in 2023, airlines and their partners simply faced unprecedented return of demand. Of course, that’s welcome but it brings its own operational challenges.”

Christos Pantazis, ground operations director at Goldair Handling, describes the staffing crisis in the sector as “acute”.

“Post pandemic staff turnover ratios have significantly increased in our market, while aviation has lost its attractiveness to young people starting their career path. At the same time, specific jobs such as aircraft loaders and drivers realise great shortages despite rising salaries over the past few years.”

The Amadeus report found 70% of respondents to its survey viewed investment in disruption management as a means to improve their firm’s public images and 66% to improve the passenger experience.

However, measuring the direct and in-direct cost impact of disruption was seen to be difficult and that the bulk of the cost was considered to fall on airlines regardless of what caused the disruption.

Poorly integrated systems, regulatory constraints and a lack of collaboration in the aviation sector were identified as constraints to addressing disruption while innovations like flexible passenger processing, pre-validation visas, biometrics and improved passenger communications were highlighted as likely solutions.

Holger Mattig, senior vice president product management Amadeus Airport and Airline Operations, said: “We sense a genuine commitment to improving aviation operations and the beginning of exciting new ways of working across the sector, driven by a shared desire to improve the traveller experience.

“As this report illustrates, stakeholders are beginning to share the information required to provide an improved service to travellers. In certain circumstances commercial considerations are being put to one side in favour of improving operational performance that ultimately benefits all stakeholders.”

The full ‘Better together: rethinking how to manage disruption in aviation report is available to download for free from the Amadeus website.

Aviation Business News is highlighting the staffing crisis in aviation this year with our Best Places To Work In Aviation awards which will celebrate those companies that are successfully driving new talent into the sector and retaining valuable skilled staff. The deadline for firms to enter is April 5. Click here to register.






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