Like other European airports in recent months, the Ile-de-France airport is facing serious staffing problems. Employees announced a strike and the airport was forced to cancel around 100 flights on Thursday between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. “in order to limit traffic disruption”, said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC), confirming information from RTL.

Faced with the sudden restart of air traffic in Europe after two years of virtual shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, several European airports find themselves ill-prepared and unable to manage passenger flows.

In Amsterdam-Schiphol as in Frankfurt, hundreds of flights have had to be canceled in recent weeks due to shortages of ground staff and in particular security personnel. Monster queues have angered travellers.

In the UK, hundreds of flights were canceled last week for the same reason, just ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee and as a busy summer season looks to be ahead.

At Roissy, it was the strike itself that led to the cancellation of flights, but the high summer traffic forecasts also raised fears of saturation.

Eurocontrol counted a number of flights at the end of April equivalent to 83% of the level of the same period of 2019 and for the summer, the European air traffic monitoring body forecasts up to 95% of the level of 2019, while the airlines report massive bookings.

– Wage increases –

At Roissy, the ground staff strike is supported by an inter-union (CGT, FO, CFDT, CFTC, CFE-CGC, Unsa and SUD), which is demanding a 300 euro salary increase “unconditionally, for all”.

“Despite the resumption of traffic and the profits made, our work is not paid at its fair value,” the unions are indignant in a joint leaflet. “Everything increases, except our remuneration”, they denounce.

For FO, “the chaos suffered for several weeks by employees working on the many airport platforms in France and Europe is intolerable”. The union estimates that 15,000 the number of jobs lost in two years in the aviation sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which results in “pressurized employees”.

At the end of April, the boss of Aéroport de Paris (ADP) Augustin de Romanet had estimated the number of positions to be filled at Orly and Roissy at 4,000 and expressed enormous recruitment difficulties.

ADP, which separated from 1,300 employees in 2021 to get through the crisis, is seeking to recruit 600 people to fill in the departures.

The shortage mainly affects maintenance technicians, qualified personnel responsible for resolving malfunctions on the gangways or in the sorting of baggage.

Other places of major tension: the screening inspection points (PIF) and the border police (PAF).

The screening inspection points, where luggage and passengers are checked, require around 5,000 agents to function properly at Roissy and Orly. According to the Union of Air and Airport Security Companies (SESA), between 300 and 500 positions are to be filled.

On the border police side, the wait for the arrival of flights “is unbearable for passengers”, admitted Augustin de Romanet. “We are fighting like lions” to have more fluidity but “the Ministry of the Interior has strong constraints”, he said.