Prepare to “arrive earlier” at the airport than before

This summer, prepare to “arrive sooner” at the airport than before, the main European Union warns of these facilities that, for some, are struggling to regain their efficiency after the health crisis, are long queues at the switch.

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In an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the annual conference in Rome of the European branch of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe), its general manager, Olivier Jankovi? COVID-19, to achieve their environmental goals.

Question: Many European airports are already facing serious operational problems, with passengers waiting for hours, even before the peak in July and August. What is your message to travelers this summer?

Answer: Airports, along with their partners, are doing everything they can to address this issue. A faster (expected) recovery, combined with a very tight job market, is causing a lot of problems across the aviation ecosystem, from airports, airlines, ground handlers, police, border control…

But it must also be emphasized that the system has not collapsed. We’re having a hard time at some airports, in some countries more than others, but the system still works.

For travelers, it is important that they contact the airlines in advance of when they will arrive at the airport, and prepare to arrive earlier than usual to ensure they have the necessary time to pass (the procedures), especially if they must. Baggage registration.

Airports have taken many measures and I believe they will start to have their effects in the middle of July. Staff reinforcements will arrive, facilities and infrastructure will be reconfigured.

It will be tight, there will be disruptions, and longer waiting times, but in the vast majority of airport traffic will flow, people will not miss their planes and hopefully everyone will be able to reach the destination as planned.

Q: In this context, airlines, represented by their international association, IATA, have denounced the planned fee increases at many airports on the Old Continent…

A: Airlines everywhere are raising their prices… Airports face the same challenges and inflationary pressures. Airlines have to pay more for their fuel, but we also incur energy and staff costs, which together account for 45% of our operating budgets. And, of course, inflation leads to higher prices for materials. Today, we have suppliers that tell us “sorry, but the price of your work will go up 50 or 80%”.

Iata seems to think that money grows on trees at airports, but it doesn’t. Europe has chosen to see airports run as a business in themselves, meaning that they are financed by their users, i.e. airlines and passengers. Iata dreams of a time when airports were still used to indirectly support businesses. This is no longer the reality we live in.

Q: Like all European companies, you have embarked on the path of decarbonization, but you have come out of the epidemic in very high debt. Is your ability to finance this transformation assured?

A: There is a question mark about our ability to fund these projects. We want to get there, the teams and the managers at the airports have very clear goals, they have to be accountable to the shareholders, we have to have access to financing and those goals (to reduce emissions) are part of the terms of that financing.

But we must be able to finance our transition from an economic point of view. We do not get the necessary help from Europe. The European Union has drawn up a 750 billion euro recovery plan to help the sectors hardest hit by the crisis and who have to decarbonise. And that is completely with the exception of European airports, which is very difficult to accept.

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