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Will Norway see travel chaos in airports this summer? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Will Norway see travel chaos in airports this summer? 
Will Norway's airports be unaffected or ravaged by chaos this summer? File Photo: A passenger stands in front of the departures board on at Oslo's Gardermoen airport. Photo by AFP/ Hakon Mosvold Larsen/ Scanpix Norway.

Residents and tourists alike are keen to travel in and out of Norway this summer after a couple of pandemic disrupted years, but will it be smooth sailing or chaos at Norwegian airports this summer? 

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Airports across Europe have recently been hit by chaos, disruption, queues, delays and cancellations. Heathrow, Manchester, Dublin, Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Schiphol in Amsterdam, and Arlanda airport in Sweden have all been struck with long queues or cancellations. 

This problem may only worsen over the summer as a survey commissioned by the Airports Council International (ACI) has revealed that as many as two-thirds of airports in Europe have said they expect more delays than usual this summer

READ MORE: How airports across Europe have been hit by travel chaos

So far, Norway has managed to prove to be the exception to this, though and managed to get through this wave of disruption relatively unscathed.

Currently, the longest queue report at a security checkpoint has been on June 3rd, when a delay of seven minutes was reported. The day was also the busiest for Norwegian airports since 2019, newspaper VG reports. 

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Avinor, the state-owned company, which operates the country's airports, has said that Norwegian airports are faring better due to being better prepared than other destinations.

"It's a staffing issue (airport delays), and here in Norway, we are much better equipped than other European countries, thanks to measures taken during the pandemic," Øystein Løwer, press officer of Avinor, told VG. 

"During the pandemic, we had a clear crisis package from the state, which made it possible to retain workers for long periods. This, in turn, meant that employees at the airports (in Norway) kept their jobs and were able to return to work when Norway reopened," the press officer explained. 

Digitisation, a recruitment drive last autumn and regular meetings with airlines were also factors that the press officer believed allowed for smooth sailing at Norway's airports. 

It's not all good news though 

However, despite Norway getting through the current wave relatively unaffected, chaos across Europe can still have knock-ons for the country's airports, no matter how well-prepared operators are. 

"Many of the planes that depart from Oslo Airport come from Europe, so if a plane arrives late at OSL, there is a high probability that the plane will depart with some delay," Løwer explained. 

Authorities are also expecting their busiest days since the pandemic on June 16th and 17th this year. 

"We expect a peak next week, on June 16th and 17th, but are well prepared for departures and hope and believe that passengers will not experience any queues," the press officer said. 

Several other factors out of the control of airports could affect travellers in Norway when they do get to the terminal. 

A number of airlines have already announced strikes, cancellations or disruptions this summer. 

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Around 1,000 pilots with Scandinavian airline SAS could go on strike later this month after trade unions issued a strike notice. Pilots in Norway, Denmark and Sweden have all said they would strike. 

Additionally, around 2,000 bookings with airline Flyr could be disrupted by the delayed delivery of Boeing aircraft to its fleet. 

Germany's largest airline Lufthansa has also said there could be delays and cancellations on its flights this summer due to staffing issues. The warning comes after it announced that it was cancelling hundreds of summer flights. 

Although Lufthansa said that airports in Frankfurt and Munich would be most affected, delays and cancellations could have knock-ons in Norway.  

What advice is being given to travellers passing through Norwegian airports? 

"My best advice when it comes to delays is to deal with the airline you are travelling with directly. Show up when the airline tells you to show up. Check-in digitally and use a digital boarding pass," Avinor's press officer said. 

Other tips included printing luggage tags at automated kiosks, or on Oslo's airport train, rather than waiting until you are at the bag drop desk. To pass through security quicker, passengers are also advised to sort out what needs to be scanned and taken out of bags well in advance.

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