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Frankfurt the latest to face flight cuts as staff shortage hits

By Damian Brett

Both passenger and freighter airlines are cancelling flights to and from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) as staff shortages affect operations at the hub.

In a statement, airport operator Fraport said demand for travel was returning and at the same time it is experiencing staff shortages for some services along the travel chain.

“To remedy this situation, some airlines are pro-actively cancelling individual passenger and cargo flights to and from FRA, or rescheduling flights in advance to periods when traffic volumes are lower,” Fraport said.

It added: “We deeply regret any inconvenience caused by this situation for our passengers here in Frankfurt. Moreover, cargo traffic can also be affected by disruptions, longer wait times and flight cancellations.”

Meanwhile, the airport is also experiencing “extreme traffic peaks” with arriving and departing flights spread unevenly throughout the working day.

At times, Fraport said that airport traffic is almost back to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, particularly during the early morning hours and at noon time and flights were often re-scheduled at short notice meaning additional staff are required outside of the planned duty rosters.

As well as airlines moving or cancelling flights, Fraport has intensified its recruitment programme, especially for hiring ground service specialists.

For example, its FraGround subsidiary is currently recruiting ground and baggage handling staff with the aim of hiring up to 1,000 new recruits for the current year.

“We have already added some 870 new staff members since last summer, thanks to our extensive recruitment measures.

“Nevertheless, it takes time until the new employees can provide noticeable relief. Our new recruits need to undergo extensive background security checks, as well as the necessary specialized training before being deployed at the airport.”

“The goal of these measures – in cooperation with our airline partners – is to stabilise FRA’s operations during peak times for the benefit of all stakeholders.

“However, this does not imply that ground handling services at FRA have been suspended at any time – neither for freighter nor for passenger aircraft.”

Frankfurt is not the only airport to be experiencing flight cancellations this summer.

Both Schiphol and Heathrow also face disruption due to staff shortages.

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