German airports hire only 150 workers from Turkey under scheme to ease staff shortage
BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Around 150 airport workers from Turkey will be deployed at German airports, according to an industry association, far fewer than initially expected despite staffing shortages that had caused travel chaos during the busy summer holiday season.
In late June, the German government announced plans to fast-track work permits and visas for several thousand foreign airport workers, mainly from Turkey, to help to ease the summer travel chaos that has frustrated holidaymakers.
However, only Munich and Nuremberg airports ended up hiring workers from Turkey, the head of the aviation ground services employers' association ABL, Thomas Richter, told Reuters. They will help with baggage handling under temporary contracts that will run through early November.
Industry associations had cited a shortage of around 2,000 workers at Germany's airports. But foreign workers have to undergo the same security checks as domestic airport workers before being allowed to work, which makes the hiring process lengthy.
Richter said that most airports did not end up hiring foreign workers because the process of bringing them to Germany would take too long and the summer holidays are nearly over already.
Frankfurt airport operator Fraport found that most of the workers available did not have qualifications it requires from airport staff, which include speaking German, Richter said.
(Reporting by Klaus Lauer and Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Susan Fenton)