24.06.2022, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Köln: Als erstes Bundesland startet Nordrhein-Westfalen in die Sommerferien. Passagiere stehen in einer Schlange von mehreren hundert Metern für die Sicherheitskontrolle am Flughafen Köln-Bonn an. Foto: Thomas Banneyer/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The federal government wants to alleviate the tense staffing situation at German airports with the option of temporarily employing foreign workers. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said this to the “Bild am Sonntag” (“BamS”). The aim is to bring a four-digit number of skilled workers from Turkey to Germany, who could ideally be deployed for a few months from July, the newspaper reports.

The federal government plans to “enable the entry of urgently needed personnel from abroad for temporary work in Germany,” said Heil. “We want to rule out any form of social dumping and exploitation. Employers must pay collective wages and provide decent accommodation for a limited period.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke in the newspaper of an action coordinated with Heil and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), with which one wanted to “stop the staff shortages at German airports and present a temporary solution”. Faeser added: “We will make it possible for helpers from abroad to be used, for example, for baggage handling.” The following applies: “There are no compromises when it comes to security.”

According to a study by the German Economic Institute (IW), around 7,200 skilled workers are currently lacking at German airports. Because of the corona pandemic, a lot of staff was cut, and numerous employees have now reoriented themselves.

Shortly before the start of the main holiday season, Lufthansa, for example, announced that it would be canceling a total of almost 3,000 flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs because more crews were reporting sick due to corona cases. The reason is in particular a lack of staff not only at the airline itself, but also at the airports, for example at security checks.

Mallorca travelers expect an additional problem: The cabin crew of three low-cost airlines is in industrial action – in the middle of the holiday season. The cleaners at Mallorca’s airport also want to stop work.

Wissing assigned responsibility for the chaotic conditions at the airports to the companies. “The federal government is not responsible for the personnel policy of the airport companies and airlines,” he said. The Federal Ministry of Transport is responsible for air traffic control and the coordination of flight operations. “And everything runs smoothly there.”

Federal Consumer Protection Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) demanded that the airlines deal fairly with their customers and actively provide information about claims, such as compensation. “I expect the airlines to meet their legal obligations and to meet the legitimate claims of passengers quickly and unbureaucratically,” she told BamS.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the summer holidays in the first federal state began on Friday and with it the travel chaos at Düsseldorf Airport. Queues for baggage check-in and security checks were hundreds of meters long on Saturday. The rush was huge, especially in front of the Eurowings counters. Several flights have already been canceled or are significantly delayed. A defect in the baggage handling system made the situation even worse.