Norwegian airports not concerned over summer queuing

Extensive delays and queueing are not generally expected at Norwegian airports during the busy summer period, in contrast to scenes at other European terminals.

aircraft on tarmac
Norway is expected to avoid the worst of the congestion issues passengers are currently experiencing at some other European airports. Illustration photo: Photo by Anna Gru on Unsplash

Friday was expected to be one of the year’s busiest days at airports across Norway, with queues reported at Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport due to an X-ray machine breaking down.

But general delays and queuing are not generally expected to be severe at Norwegian airports this summer, newspaper VG reports.

That is in contrast to other locations in Europe, where staff shortages, IT glitches, long queues and strike action are among issues likely to cause disruption.

Up to two in three airports in Europe have said they expect some level of delays during the summer, meaning passengers travelling from Norway face the possibility of being affected.

Airports experiencing capacity problems include popular destinations for Norwegian travellers such as London, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: Strikes and queues: How airline passengers in Europe face summer travel chaos

The upcoming weekend as well as next weekend – particularly June 24th and 26th – are expected to see some of the highest volumes of passengers at Oslo Airport this year.

“We recommend that people closely follow information from their airlines. We are already doing all we can at our airports to make sure everyone gets a good start to their holiday,” Oslo Airport’s head of communication Harald Kvam told VG.

“We have also prepared well so we are not concerned about holiday travel from Norwegian airports as things stand,” Kvam said.

A key problem at some airports has been a lack of staffing as operators have struggled to hire and train new staff to replace those let go during the Covid-19 pandemic, when travel was heavily restricted.

“(Norwegian airport operator) Avinor has spent a long time preparing for this summer and we have increased staffing where it was needed,” Kvam told VG.

Oslo Airport has hired extra passenger support and airport operations staff, he said.

“We are also lucky in Norway because we were able to furlough people during the pandemic. That was a result of support from the state and extended furloughing options,” he said.

“In other countries, not everyone has been so lucky and it is often difficult and time consuming to bring people back in,” he said.

READ ALSO: SAS pilots’ strike scheduled to begin on June 29th

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SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”.