Karl Stefanovic suggests the ARMY could be called into airports for school holiday crush

Today host Karl Stefanovic has suggested the army could be called in to tackle the crush at airports during the upcoming school holidays. 

Australia’s airports are bracing for chaos during the winter break with millions of people expected to board flights as demand soars. 

Shocking scenes in April showed massive queues stretching hundreds of metres long with many Australians seeing their flights delayed or cancelled. 

In a bid to avoid a repeat of the Easter situation, Today host Stefanovic asked CAPA Centre of Aviation chairman Peter Habison if the Army could be called in. 

‘I saw a terrific debate the other day in the UK,’ began Stefanovic. 

‘They were debating whether to bring the Army in during peak periods. Would something like that alleviate or cause more problems?’

‘It would probably still any unrest occurring in the airport,’ a stunned Habison replied.

Sydney Airport has said 2.1 million passengers are forecast to pass through it between June 27 and July 17

During their chat on the programme, the aviation chief was asked if he thought the airport chaos in Easter would be repeated during the upcoming winter holiday. 

‘It does sound like it will, I’m afraid. I guess the only thing is that people are ready to expect it now,’ he answered. ‘Hopefully they’ll be ready to tackle it too. But this is going to be something that’s around with us for quite a long time.

‘Every peak period we have, the whole industry, airports, aviation, the airlines themselves, are going to be stretched because of a whole variety of reasons.’

Sydney Airport has said 2.1 million passengers are forecast to pass through it between June 27 and July 17. 

This is even more than the 1.8 million who used the airport during the Easter holidays period between April 4 to April 24. 

Staff shortages are crippling the industry, according to experts, with Sydney Airport holding a jobs fair last week in an attempt to fill some of the 5,000 vacancies it has.    

Security, baggage handling, government agencies, airlines, hospitality and retail are among the roles that were advertised. 

‘There’s an issue all round the world Karl,’ said Habison. ‘The CEO of Heathrow Airport a couple of weeks ago is saying it’s probably going to be 18 months before we get back to being able to cope with peak periods.

‘It is really because the staff just aren’t there, the staff aren’t ready to come back in. I was in Manchester in the UK a couple of months ago, they were copping an awful lot of flack because things were so slow, the queues were so long, the bags getting lost. 

In a bid to avoid a repeat of the Easter situation, Today host Stefanovic asked CAPA Centre of Aviation chairman Peter Habison if the Army could be called in

In a bid to avoid a repeat of the Easter situation, Today host Stefanovic asked CAPA Centre of Aviation chairman Peter Habison if the Army could be called in

Staff shortages are crippling the industry, according to experts, with Sydney Airport holding a jobs fair last week in an attempt to fill some of the 5,000 vacancies it has

Staff shortages are crippling the industry, according to experts, with Sydney Airport holding a jobs fair last week in an attempt to fill some of the 5,000 vacancies it has 

‘They were saying we’ve been training people up, but they come on-the-job for three days and they get so much from the passengers who are really upset about things that they quit. 

‘So there’s a two-way flow here as well of the pandemic still being pretty much an influence on how many people can get to work and not. It’s a pretty vicious spiral really.’

Back in April, passengers at Sydney Airport were seen waiting in lines that stretched to up to 300 metres long, as queues snaked around the security checkpoints.

Passengers complained of missing their flights while some claimed the long hold-up in the terminals was worsened by queue jumpers barging to the front of the lines.

Massive queues formed at Sydney Airport earlier this year, sparking travel chaos

Massive queues formed at Sydney Airport earlier this year, sparking travel chaos

Back in April, passengers complained of missing their flights while some claimed the long hold-up in the terminals was worsened by queue jumpers barging to the front of the lines

Back in April, passengers complained of missing their flights while some claimed the long hold-up in the terminals was worsened by queue jumpers barging to the front of the lines 

Airport bosses blamed school holidays, a shortage of security personnel and, remarkably, forgetful passengers out of the habit of removing items from their luggage for scanning.

More recently those wanting to travel abroad have been set back by massive delays in getting their passports, or having them renewed.

Some have been waiting three months to get their passports, with many fearing they’ll have to postpone or cancel their holidays altogether.

‘It’s terrific to see the ongoing demand for air travel but we won’t sugar-coat the fact that the terminals will be busy during the school holidays, and there will be queues,’ Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said.

‘We are doing everything we can to get people on their way, including bringing an additional 60 customer service staff into the terminals every day to help manage queues and bring passengers forward in order of flight priority.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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