Causes of the 2022 Travel Crisis

20th July 2022

When the world came to a grinding halt in 2020, travel was one of the worst-hit industries, especially the aviation industry. Planes were grounded and people were forbidden to travel but as the world has slowly emerged from the pandemic, it has seen numbers slowly increase since the middle of 2021.

However, the number of people travelling and flying was well below pre-pandemic levels which meant that airlines could cope with the numbers. These numbers were still low due to a number of reasons such as vaccination status, the countries people were travelling to as well as a willingness to travel given that Covid-19 was still a risk. As even more people are now vaccinated or naturally protected, it has seen even more people pick up where they left off in 2020 and so, the number of people travelling has increased significantly. However, as we have seen reported through the media, there has been no shortage of disruption. People have seen their flights cancelled while sitting on the runway, they have had holidays cancelled and found themselves marooned in airports for hours and even days. So, what has caused the 2022 travel crisis?

Airlines Battled to Survive

As mentioned, airlines had to stop the majority of flights that they were making which meant that they laid off thousands of employees when restrictions were brought in. This helped them to save money and survive the early months of the pandemic.

Now that holidays have returned and people are travelling, airlines are now searching for staff, but they do not have enough to cover the flights that had already been allocated take-off and landing slots. There are staff issues in “below wing” roles which are roles such as baggage handling or ground handling, all of which have an impact on airlines and how they operate.

Furthermore, security has also been a problem because staff were also laid off, but it is not possible to simply hire new staff. This is down to the fact that they have to go through security checks and receive training.

Brexit Also Played a Part

The staff shortages that have plagued airlines have also been impacted by Brexit. When Brexit was finally pushed through, it saw thousands of foreign workers return home and many of these would have worked for airlines. The airlines would hire crew from the EU who would then operate from bases within the UK and this has added to the travel problems such as queues, especially when you consider the fact that Covid paperwork has to be checked along with passports.

Covid Is Still Around

Finally, Covid is still here and the infection is increasing again. While people do not have to legally isolate, those who contract the virus are choosing to stay away from the workplace and that has impacted all areas of flying such as air traffic control, airline staff and ground staff.

So, it does not look as though the chaos is going to end quickly but it does look as though there might be light at the end of the tunnel as airlines and airports seek out solutions to solve the staff shortages.

by William Finden

William Finden is the Founder and MD of Oaklands Global. He is a seasoned executive search and recruitment specialist with over 16 years of experience, dedicated to the international aviation & aerospace markets. William leads Oaklands Global’s C-Suite practice and has had a successful career delivering at the executive level for a diverse portfolio of clientele including Business Jet Operators, OEM’s, MRO’s, FBO’s Airlines and Rotary businesses. To learn more about how William can assist with your next career move or to discuss your next director level hire please contact him by email:

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