Duesseldorf. Duesseldorf airport used signs to blame security staff for delays at the weekend. There are also delays in Cologne-Bonn airport.
The tense situation at the passenger controls at Duesseldorf airport got worse yesterday. After long delays again at security checks at the weekend, the airport put up signs advising passengers that only a few security gates were open because of a staff shortage at the security company Kötter. “This meant the blame for the entire chaos was put on the security personnel,” said Özay Tarim, secretary of the Verdi union. “Those employees affected were horrified.” The airport decided to remove the signs during the course of the day.
Airport spokesman Thomas Kötter defended the measures. He said the signs were there to give waiting passengers an unbiased idea of waiting times. “We don’t explicitly state either the number of employees on duty or the shortfall or the anticipated waiting time,” emphasised Kötter.
However, overstretched employees described the reaction of passengers in clear words: “We were verbally abused and insulted by many passengers. Some no longer wanted to follow our instructions and laughed at us when we said something,” reported one security employee. The signs were clearly the cause.
There have been long queues at security checks at Duesseldorf airport for around two months. Passengers regularly miss their flights as a result. The main reason for the misery is severe staff shortages at the security company Kötter, which carries out person and baggage controls on behalf of the Federal police. There is a daily shortage of up to 75 personnel and the tense situation will continue until at least the middle of October.
No other airport in the country has the sort of severe problems currently being encountered at security checks in Duesseldorf. At Cologne-Bonn airport there is currently a shortage of 20 to 25 staff at peak times sometimes also causing long queues. There were also problems this year at controls at Stuttgart airport. Passengers had to wait up to an hour longer because of staff shortages. The security firm responsible used staff from other companies to relieve the shortage. Kötter is currently planning something similar at Duesseldorf airport.
(Original text: Christian Schwerdtfeger. Translated by Kate Carey)