Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s GM Customer and Aeronautical Commercial talks tourism comeback and how Auckland Airport is ready for the influx of people. Video / NZ Herald
About 1600 aviation roles are vacant, leading Auckland Airport to warn of a travel crunch over summer.
Available jobs include cabin crew, airline check-in, baggage handling, security, airport operations and emergency services through to qualified
trades, infrastructure development roles, government agency roles, retail assistants, hotel staff, chefs, baristas, cleaners and waste management workers.
The airport says that with so many jobs vacant across the airport system, travellers may experience longer wait times when flying this summer, despite a successful mid-year job fair.
As the peak Christmas travel season approaches, Auckland Airport chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui is asking travellers to plan ahead and get to the airport early, as there may be additional queues and delays when departing, as well as arriving into New Zealand.
“If you’re travelling this Christmas, we kindly ask for your patience as, unfortunately, there could be some longer wait times,” she said.
Air New Zealand is facing a surge in demand and will carry 2.8 million passengers between December 15 and January 31 next year. That compares to 1.1 million last summer when there were Covid restrictions.
The airline says that with a strong increase in bookings and over the summer, it will be operating at pre-Covid levels.
Hurihanganui said many airport businesses that had once relied on seasonal workers to help bolster their teams during the summer peak, and immigration had an important role to play in alleviating staffing pressures.
“Labour shortages are a consistent story across many industries and the airport system is not alone in feeling the effects of the labour crunch and the impact that has on its customers.”
Some travellers have complained of long delays at Customs and Ministry of Primary Industries screening when a number of flights arrive at the same time. Flights are usually staggered but problems at overseas airports have at times led to problems cascading as they arrive here at the same time.
Business groups have called for the raising of limits on hiring workers from overseas and the more efficient processing of migrant workers.
Board of Airline Representatives executive director Cath O’Brien said it was difficult filling vacancies for airport roles because of anti-social shift times and because it was hard to get to because of the lack of public transport.
The return of migrant workers had also been delayed because of the cost of a still-restricted number of flights to this country and high living costs when they arrived, she said.
Hurihanganui said the job fair provided a welcome boost to the recruitment drive of major airport employers, who filled more than 500 roles or 17 per cent of jobs available at the time of the one-day event.
“We’re pleased with how the job fair went in July and the conversion rate that was achieved, but organisations right across the airport system continue to struggle to fill thousands of vacancies,’’ she said.
They were crucial roles that help keep the airport ecosystem running smoothly.
‘’Travel has rebounded strongly after the borders re-opened and these businesses are crying out for staff from entry-level roles through to senior positions,” Hurihanganui said.
The July job fair gave more than 4000 job seekers an opportunity to connect to 30 major airport employers who had around 3000 jobs on offer at the time.
“We’ll continue to work with our airport partners, including considering the potential for a second job fair in 2023.”
The airport company currently has 67 vacancies, including dozens in operations and infrastructure.
“Auckland Airport is starting to buzz again and it’s a lively and dynamic place to work with literally hundreds of exciting job opportunities on offer,” Hurihanganui said.
“If you’re someone who loves travel and the broader aviation industry, it’s a great time to join the wide range of teams operating at Auckland Airport.”
This month, international seat capacity at Auckland Airport has returned to about 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels and domestic seat capacity will have returned to about 90 per cent of pre-Covid levels. Eighty-one per cent of retail and food and beverage sites at the international terminal are open.