Travelers prepare for more airport delays as air traffic resumes | New

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The aviation sector is grappling with staff shortages and rising demand, as MPs express concern over rising emissions.

Passengers should be prepared for long queues for security inspections (file photo) Image: Sasha Silvala/Yle

Helsinki airport operator Finavia is warning again on Sunday of serious passenger delays.

On Friday, some travelers had to queue for an hour for security checks.

Congestion is likely to be at its peak in the afternoon, especially between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Terminal 1 security screening was closed on Sunday morning, so all passengers – including those traveling with Lufthansa, SAS and Norwegian – were asked to use Terminal 2 security screening.

The delays are due to a lack of staff and a sharp increase in the number of passengers.

Aviation resurfaces on pent-up demand

Air travel is rapidly returning to pre-pandemic levels in Europe this summer due to pent-up demand after the long hiatus.

According to the OAG aviation database, airlines around the world had more than 91 million seats on sale in the first week of June, the highest number since 2019.

Traffic is recovering fastest in Western Europe, where leisure travel, in particular, is growing.

Many airlines have been unprepared for such a rapid recovery in traffic, leading to capacity shortages.

Meanwhile, Russia’s decision to ban nearly all foreign flights from its airspace in retaliation for war-related sanctions in Ukraine is hampering the operations of airlines that previously relied on overflights. These included Finnair, which had to re-route its crucial Asian flights via the Persian Gulf, with additional stopovers.

Finnair ends furloughs

Despite the return of passengers, many airliners are still expected to register losses this year, as the war reduces the number of tourist groups in Europe and business travel has not returned to pre-Covid levels.

Finnair has recalled all staff previously furloughed. Two Airbus A350s that previously served Finnair’s Asian routes and their crews have been leased to a German airline. He will use them for leisure flights to the United States.

At the same time, preparations are underway for the return of Asian passengers when travel restrictions are lifted there, according to Antti TolvanenFinnair Senior Vice President, Network & Revenue Management.

“Demand in Japan and South Korea will return to previous levels very quickly. In China, we expect restrictions to continue into next year. Singapore is currently strong in terms of demand and is acting as a hub for transit for Australian passengers, which is driving demand,” he told Yle.

But due to the overflight ban imposed by Russia, not all direct routes to Asia will return in the near future. In the future, those who plan to go to Japan in particular will have to prepare a transfer to the Persian Gulf.

“Of course, this transit traffic will increase because the distances will remain long, since practically all airlines have to bypass Russian airspace. It does not make sense to fly directly to certain destinations,” Tolvanen explained.

MPs worry about rising emissions

European lawmakers have joined climate groups in expressing concern over a further rise in aviation emissions that are contributing to global warming.

Last week, the European Parliament voted for a series of climate protection bills that included a proposal to overhaul the aviation sector.

In a surprise vote, lawmakers from across the political spectrum also blocked a proposal to update the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS), calling it too weak to meet commitments. “Fit for 55” climatic conditions of the EU.

ETS requires airlines and other industries to buy and sell CO2 allowed to pollute within the framework of a ceiling which decreases over time. On Wednesday, the ETS bill was sent back to the legislature’s environment committee for a rewrite.

“Unfortunately, key sections of the ‘Fit for 55’ climate package on emissions trading, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and the Social Climate Fund are back in committee. Work is therefore continuing to adopt the whole climate package,” wrote the Finnish MEP. Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (SDP) said in a tweet.

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