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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for action to retain ground handling staff

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged for more ground handling personnel to be retained and recruited.

The decision comes as the sector struggles to cope with staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The shortages we are experiencing today are a symptom of the longer-term challenges to achieve a stable talent base in ground handling,” Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for the Operations, Safety, and Security, said in a statement.

The IATA recommends that the ground handling industry use a more aggressive talent acquisition strategy, which includes “an awareness campaign to promote the attractiveness and importance of ground operations in global logistics and transport operations,” as well as career path mapping.

Employers should also implement the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM), which attempts to standardize ground operations and give employees more flexibility and opportunity in terms of relocation, reassignment, and recruiting, according to the IATA.

“The cornerstone is standardization that can be achieved with the adoption of the IGOM. Its global implementation will have a huge and positive impact on all aspects of ground handling, including talent management. The potential is to shift working in the sector from having a job to developing a career,” said Careen.

Because of the significant number of personnel placed on furlough during the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent surge in air travel demand before this year’s peak summertime, the aviation industry is currently experiencing staffing issues.

Due to staff shortages, the largest European airports, notably London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Dublin Airport, have already experienced long lines, aircraft cancellations, and delays in recent weeks.

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