Airports on the race to fill thousands of jobs cut in pandemic

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These jobs are low-paid, often involving at least 40 hours a week and with variable shifts that can end late or on weekends, making them particularly unattractive. Airlines UK, the industry body for UK-registered airlines, said companies have cut about 30,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, having employed 74,000 people in 2019.

Swissport, which operates at 285 airports globally, is looking to hire 30,000 staff this summer and has launched campaigns on social media in the UK and US.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported a “severe shortage of groundhandlers” after thousands left the industry in the past two years.

Nick Careen, the IATA executive in charge of operations, safety and security, said it will take many years now to “achieve a stable talent base in groundhandling” once more.

On job websites, London Heathrow has offered the biggest hourly wage for baggage handlers at £12.76 an hour – £3.26 above the £9.50 hourly National Living Wage. Gatwick wages were on average £12.08 per hour.

The average basic full-time salary is around £26,296, with an average of £4,100 in overtime.

Manchester Airport is offering £250 in cash to anyone who refers a friend for one of the 500 general airport jobs it is advertising.

Air cabin crew, meanwhile, start at just £12,000-£14,000, rising to £20,000-£23,000 for senior crew.

They also get paid a rate for every on-duty hour, as well as a subsistence allowance, bonuses and commission for inflight retail.

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