Qantas passenger planes: Kangaroo airline in need of staff
Photo: Mark Baker/ AP
Delayed flights, lost luggage and long queues at the counter - these days, air passengers in Australia are not spared either.
In order to alleviate the travel chaos, the Australian airline Qantas is now backing an unusual idea: the airline's managers are to help with baggage handling for three months.
According to consistent media reports, the airline has contacted around 100 executives in Melbourne and Sydney to swap their office jobs for baggage handlers.
In an internal email, operational director Colin Hughes explains the unusual approach given the large number of winter flu and corona cases as well as shortages in the labor market: "There is no expectation that you will take on this role in addition to your full-time position," Hughes writes.
The employees are supposed to help with loading and unloading luggage or drive luggage transporters between the terminals - three or five days a week for four or six hours.
One requirement: Applicants must be able to lift suitcases weighing up to 32 kilograms.
So far, nothing is known about how the shifts will be integrated into the manager's day-to-day work, and how the switch to the desk will be managed after hard physical exertion at the baggage carousel.
The company also said nothing about the number of people who may have already volunteered.
However, sharp criticism can already be heard from employee representatives: "This is not the brainwave that Qantas management seems to think it is," the Australian news broadcaster "Sky" quoted union secretary Michael Kaine as saying.
"Training unskilled clerks into specialized aviation jobs only increases the risk of serious injuries and security incidents, which would throw airports into further chaos."
In the email to the workforce, the airline itself promises extensive training so that the employees concerned can carry out the work "safely".
Like other airlines - including Lufthansa in Germany - Qantas had also made numerous employees redundant during the corona pandemic.
Around 1,600 employees in baggage handling lost their jobs.
In view of the staff shortage, more than eight percent of Qantas flights were canceled in June.