Work Shortage Causes Airline Executives to Work Baggage Claim
Qantas Airways, the flag carrier of Australia, has asked its senior executives to work as baggage handlers at Sydney and Melbourne airports for three months due to a labor shortage.
After Qantas made a similar appeal for help during the Easter holiday period, about 200 head-office employees volunteered to temporarily fill in for overworked ground crews.
The airline is looking for workers and volunteers to perform baggage duties which include loading and unloading bags and driving luggage carts between terminals. The shifts are four and six hours and would be performed three to five days a week. Workers must be able to move suitcases weighing as much as 71 pounds.
Qantas' chief operating officer Colin Hughes said this in an email shared with BBC by the company. "The high levels of winter flu and a Covid spike across the community, coupled with the ongoing tight labor market, make resourcing a challenge across our industry."
According to data from FlightAware. 19% of Qantas flights were delayed and 5% were canceled as of Sunday. Qantas has been Australia’s least reliable carrier for the past few months.
This is not the only airline that is having problems. On Sunday, Air Canada and JetBlue delayed 55% and 51% of their flights, respectively. For passengers who flew Allegiant or Southwest, 37% of flights were delayed. And 32% — nearly a third — of United’s flights were late yesterday.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg proposed defining when airlines should be required to reimburse passengers as a delay of at least three hours for a domestic flight and at least six hours for an international flight. The prior week, Democratic members of Congress introduced a bill that would require airlines to offer customers a full cash refund within 30 days if their flight is canceled or significantly delayed less than 48 hours before departure.
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