IATA calls for action to retain ground handling staff

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for action to retain and attract more ground handling staff. 

The move comes as the industry fights staff shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The shortages we are experiencing today are a symptom of the longer-term challenges to achieve a stable talent base in ground handling,” Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for the Operations, Safety and Security, said in a statement.  

The IATA proposes that the ground handling sector adopt a stronger talent acquisition strategy, including “an awareness campaign to highlight the attractiveness and importance of ground operations in global logistics and transport operations” as well as career path mapping. 

The IATA also said that employers should implement the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM), which aims to standardize ground operations and provide additional flexibility and opportunities for staff in terms of relocation, reassignment and recruitment. 

“The cornerstone is standardization that can be achieved with the adoption of the IGOM. Its global implementation will have a huge and positive impact in all aspects of ground handling, including talent management. The potential is to shift working in the sector from having a job to developing a career,” said Careen.   

The aviation sector is currently facing staffing problems because of the large numbers of people placed on furlough during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a subsequent increase in air travel demand before this year's busy summer period.    

The busiest European airports, including London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, Dublin Airport, have already faced long queues, flight cancellations and delays due to staff shortages during the past few weeks.    

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