Vienna airport reassures travellers over summer holiday concerns

After scenes of airport chaos in Europe, including in Austria, the capital's airport authority has moved to reassure traveller it will be able to cope with the summer rush.

Vienna airport reassures travellers over summer holiday concerns
As travel resumes, airliners and airports have had difficulty coping (Photo by VOO QQQ on Unsplash)

Europe has seen scenes of airport chaos over the past few weeks, with the most recent example being the 500 travellers left stranded at Austria’s Salzburg Airport on Sunday, June 19th, due to flight cancellations.

However, Vienna airport has reassured travellers it is prepared for the summer.

The spokesperson for the Vienna International Airport has told Austrian media that they currently have about 80 percent of personnel from before the pandemic – while passenger levels are at about 65 to 70 percent of those from 2019.

READ ALSO: Will Austria see travel chaos in airports this summer?

Vienna Schwechat Airport says there were no staff cuts during the pandemic, though some workers quit and others retired.

Also, Austrian Airlines said it has hired 150 new cabin staff for the spring and summer seasons and is “ready for take-off into a summer in full operation”.

Problems can still arise

“In Vienna, our partners and we succeeded, particularly through the instrument of short-time work, to keep as many personnel as possible in employment. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case at many other airports we also serve,” explained Austria Airlines spokeswoman Sophie Matkovits.

Even though airports and Austrian airlines are fully operational, they are not solely responsible for the flights. The companies stress that local operators can’t influence the situation at other airport locations.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

It was the case with the Salzburg flights, according to Salzburg Airport’s spokesperson, Alexander Klaus. He said that most of the flights affected were from the Lufthansa Group, which has scrapped 900 planned flights for July to avoid cancelling at short notice.

He also mentioned there were significant staff shortages at Frankfurt and Nuremberg airports, even though Salzburg Airport is sufficiently staffed: “When one link in this chain starts to swing, you feel it everywhere,” he said.

Vienna Airport recommends checking the flight status and planning more time than usual for departure on intense travel days.

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Austrian railway workers set to strike after pay talks fall flat

Austria's railways are set to grind to a halt on Monday due to failed negotiations between unions and rail operators, the country's railway system (ÖBB) said on Sunday.

Austrian railway workers set to strike after pay talks fall flat

Austrian railway workers will hold a one-day strike on Monday after another round of negotiations between unions and railway representatives failed.

The fifth round of negotiations over pay rises for 50,000 employees from 65 different railway operators, including the main national operator ÖBB, had failed to come to a resolution.

Vida, the trade union that represents the workers, has asked for a wage increase of €400 – an average increase of around 12 percent.

In response, Austria’s Chamber of Commerce offered an increase of a 8 percent.

With walkouts set to go ahead, there will be no regional, long-distance or night trains on Monday.

“After more than twelve hours of intensive talks, the [two sides] unfortunately did not manage to come to an agreement,” the ÖBB said in a statement.

Cross-border traffic and night travel could be affected, and the ÖBB also warned of “individual train cancellations” on Sunday evening and even on Tuesday.

Andreas Matthä, CEO of ÖBB, said in a statement: “I cannot understand this strike at all. With an offer of 8.44 percent, the ÖBB has made the highest offer of any sector.”

“This is clearly a malicious strike on the part of the union,” he added.

Vida union negotiator Gerhard Tauchner said that they “are fighting for a sustainable cost of living adjustment… which will give relief to those with lower and middle incomes in particular in the face of skyrocketing prices.”

Austria’s year-on-year inflation rate hit 11 percent in October.