Problems at Cologne/Bonn Airport Passengers miss flights due to long queues

Cologne · At Cologne/Bonn Airport, the service provider Securitas is short of staff at the security checks. At peak times there are long queues. The federal police insist on the fulfilment of the contract by Securitas.

 At peak times, the queue of passengers in front of the controls stretches right across the hall of Terminal 1.

At peak times, the queue of passengers in front of the controls stretches right across the hall of Terminal 1.

Foto: Privat

It happens at regular intervals at the moment: long queues form in front of the security checks at Cologne/Bonn Airport at peak times early in the morning, in the morning or later in the afternoon. The queues are so long that travellers miss their departures. Around 70 travellers were affected last week, according to well-informed sources. "I have missed my flight several times now, even though I was there on time," says a Bonn GA reader.

If a passenger does not make it to the plane on time, this also often leads to delays at take-off. No suitcase is allowed to fly without an accompanying passenger. Therefore, in such a case, the staff must laboriously retrieve the suitcase from the hold.

The Federal Police is responsible for security checks at Cologne/Bonn Airport. Passenger controls are a sovereign task of the federal government. For this purpose, the Federal Government has in turn concluded a contract with the service provider Securitas.

Cologne/Bonn Airport: Queues due to staff shortages

The queues are due to staff shortages. "Recruiting staff is indeed a major challenge that Securitas shares with many other companies from a wide range of industries," says Securitas spokesman Sebastian Schwarzenberger. The company has had to record numerous staff leaving. The main reasons for this were the short-time work during the Corona pandemic due to extremely low passenger numbers in the meantime as well as the more strenuous work due to the pandemic requirements such as wearing a mouth-nose protection.

For these reasons, unfortunately, employees would have reoriented themselves and found other jobs during the pandemic. "We continue our training undeterred," Schwarzenberger said. Successively, many new colleagues would join the team. The company offers good and fair working conditions. In addition to taking individual needs into account in the context of duty scheduling, Securitas pays 19.81 euros as a new hourly wage. Further increases to well over 20 euros have already been agreed.

Verdi: About 100 workers missing at the airport

The issue is also high on the agenda of the Federal Police: They are talking to all parties involved in the process, the security service, the airport company and the airlines about possibilities to improve the processes. "It is not the mass of passengers that is the problem, but the rush hour," says Christian Tiemann, spokesman for the Federal Police at Cologne/Bonn Airport. The deployment of federal police officers to assist with passenger checks, as has already happened, could only be the very last resort. The controls are the responsibility of Securitas: "We insist on the fulfilment of the contract.

Verdi secretary Özay Tarim says that Securitas at Cologne/Bonn airport would be short about 100 workers. 580 employees are far too few. He considers it a big problem that Securitas would only offer part-time contracts. This is not worthwhile for interested parties who have to travel further. Since work is also done at night, employees are dependent on a car.

"You could see the problem coming," says Tarim. The problems during the summer holidays last year had already given a foretaste. "Now all those involved have to show their colours as to how things are going to work better this year during the summer holidays," says the Verdi secretary. He added that the solution could not be to increase the workload for those present.

(Original text: Claudia Mahnke; Translation: Mareike Graepel)
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